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Union says no interviews

PSAC supports CBC techs in labour dispute

Jorge Barrera
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Dec 17/01) - The territories' largest union is boycotting CBC reporters until an ongoing strike between technical staff and management is settled.

Jean Francois Des Lauriers, regional executive vice-president with the Public Service Alliance (PSAC) said the union will not deal with the CBC "as long as the CBC does not deal fairly with their workers and as long as the labour dispute is current."

The union represents 50 bargaining units in this territory and in Nunavut including federal and territorial government workers, all the hamlets, municipal workers in Inuvik, Yellowknife and Hay River as well as hospital and NWT Power Corporation workers.

The union is asking all its members to refrain from any interviews but said no one would face reprisals if they talked.

The Yukon Liberal government took a hard line on the current strike directing its staff to boycott CBC interviews.

"In light of the labour dispute, we are asking government employees not to provide one-on-one interviews either in studio or by telephone. Doing either form of interview is considered "crossing a picket line,"said an e-mail sent to Yukon government workers.

According to a recent Whitehorse Star article, Yukon Premier Pat Duncan, Justice Minister Pam Buckway and cabinet spokesperson Ken MacGillvary belonged to unions when they worked for the CBC.

The government here said it continue normal relations with the CBC.

CBC managers in Yellowknife did not return phone calls on the issue.

Two Yellowknife city councillors are mirroring PSAC's stand.

Councillors Ben McDonald and Kevin O'Reilly said Wednesday they won't do any CBC interviews as a show of sympathy for striking workers.

"There is a strike going on there and you're facilitating the operation by providing them with news and stuff they can get on air," said McDonald, who works for the Public Service Alliance.

The strike-lockout began on Dec. 7 as talks between CBC management and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers union (CEP) representing 1,600 nationally employees stalled.

Both sides accuse the other of intransigence.

The strike's main impact is on television. All regional broadcasts have been cancelled including the nightly TV program, Northbeat.