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Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Wednesday, August 24, 2005


Didn't really wrap up the argument in that last post. The question remains, if the CBC doesn't have enough money, and yet we deserve job security for the reasons I've outlined, where does that leave us? For one thing, throwing out job security or permanent employees might allow the CBC to function within its budget limitations, but would it remain an effective CBC? I would say no, for the reasons outlined in the last post.

The fact is there are better ways for the CBC to save money than on the backs of its employees. A friend of mine who's now a manager inside walked the picket line with me the last two times out (an important fact to remember... that many of the managers currently inside have themselves picketed a few times... it's that tiny cabal at the top that's the problem). We had a bit of a saying: "Things, not people" meaning save money on things, not people. It's never that simple, I suppose, and yet...

When I think of the stuff money has been wasted on over the last few years... the big one they're all talking about on the line these days is the Niagara Institute. They paid big bucks to send all these managers to this kind of training camp to learn how to be better managers. It's probably facile to conclude that this (the lockout) is the end result, especially in light of my opinion that the lockout is not the fault of middle managers. And I'm not opposed to training managers... I know in the military they spend years developing managers/officers under the assumption that you can't just step into such a job. But it is the opinion of several people on the line that the Niagara Institute was a colossal waste of money.

My personal favourite is the amount of money spent on, essentially, walls. Man, they love to move walls around inside the Broadcast Centre. It's no wonder you can't find your way around inside there because the walls are constantly shifting. They used to have CBL Radio located on the first floor, which most people thought was great because people could come in and gawk at them inside their fishbowl. They had it set up so that you could see Andy Barrie and all his cohorts through these glass windows. In their wisdom they saw fit to pack up CBL and move it to the third floor where nobody could see them, and they had some big fancy plans to renovate the old studios. But now the old studios mostly sit empty, except for the odd training class. It's like a wasteland down there.

Because you know who's really running the CBC? It's the real estate people. Broadcasting is not paramount at the corp. Real Estate is. You might need that studio to produce some good radio but oh! Too bad! The real estate people want it for their nefarious purposes, so you can't have it. So you move out and then... hey, that's odd, the studio's sitting empty... so, why couldn't I use it again? And you never really know the answer but you begin to suspect that you have been the victim of some bad planning. Bad planning that's costing the corporation slash taxpayer some dough. Resulting in exactly this kind of labour dispute down the road when they find themselves suprise surprise a little tight for cash.

Yes, I know I'm being simplistic and I'm not in a position to know exactly what's going on, but it's these kinds of questions that people are asking themselves as they pound the pavement hour after hour on the picket line.

So to conclude, there are other ways to save money than on the backs of the employees. (And that's without even getting into the extra money we ought to be getting on a regular basis from the federal government... if the country in fact wants a public broadcaster.) Perhaps... just perhaps... if the CBC stopped wasting millions of dollars tweaking floor plans, we wouldn't be in this mess.


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