some vacation!

When you're a rural telecommuter, being locked out is a lonely business.

Monday, October 03, 2005

break out the (cheap) bubbly!

I'm overwhelmed by the news that we have an agreement in principle. Finally. And from the looks of what few details we have to go on, this is not a "settle for" deal but a best case scenario, at least for my small sub-catagory of workers.

I'm awaiting the details on the elimination of the freelance fixed-term contract catagory with guarded enthusiasm. I wrote about my experiences with this contract catagory for the CMG website back in week 3. If you care to see that rambling missive, it's here.

In a nutshell, I have worked continuously for more than 12 years on the same program, but the CBC has considered me an independent contractor selling a specific service to the corporation for the duration. Despite my commitment to the same program over the long-term, I have never been offered a staff position or paid benefits of any kind.

Here's how I phrased it:

I inhabit a land of employment limbo, populated by people like myself who are staff by intent, freelance by contract.

I never expected a job for life. I'm thankful every day that I've had such an amazing run doing something I love, with people I respect, for a corporation I have felt passionate about since I was seven years old. I'm happy to be paid fairly for my work. As a freelance contract worker, I'm also keenly aware how fragile my relationship is with the CBC.

It feels like I have chosen to marry myself to the CBC, but after 13 years, the CBC acts like we're still just dating. One day I'll get the news that my program is no longer wanted and that will be it. Thanks, that was fun, goodbye. No severance pay, no opportunity for lateral movement within the corporation.

So, could it really be true that after 12 consecutive years as a "freelancer" on the same program I will become eligable for a staff position? With real benefits? Or will there be wiggle room here... staff contracts for full-timers, some other kind of contract for people like myself who keep a home office and deliver a weekly show?

This will be an anxious couple of days while I wait for details.

That being said, thank you, thank you, thank you to the union negotiating team. You showed tireless devotion and sheer ballsiness. You said you wouldn't cave and it appears that you didn't.



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