September 6, 2017
TORONTO The union representing Chinese speaking journalists and media workers at Rogers’ OMNI TV is taking legal action in response to the broadcaster’s unprecedented subcontracting of its daily news coverage to its only competitor, Fairchild TV.
“This $20-billion broadcaster is in violation of its CRTC licence to produce its own news coverage,” said Unifor President Jerry Dias. “Rogers promised the CRTC it would cover the news with its in-house staff. It is not supposed to get millions in customer fees, and then reneged on that promise as soon as it gets the CRTC licence.”
Rogers was granted a special licence by the CRTC on May 15 to bring back daily news coverage in the Cantonese, Mandarin, Italian, and Punjabi languages. The licence comes with a “must-carry” obligation on all cable TV distributors and a mandatory 12 cent monthly customer fee. The news shows, which went off the air in 2015, began broadcasting again across Canada on September 1.
Dias was also critical of Rogers’ failure to reveal its hand off of news gathering to Fairchild TV only after the CRTC licensing hearing, without the Chinese Canadian community having the chance to debate a monopoly on Chinese language local and national TV news.
“The news director of Fairchild TV is anti-Trudeau, pro-Conservative, and pro-Trump,” said Dias. “OMNI’s decision to contract out the work to its only major competitor denies its viewers a different perspective and a fresh voice. We believe the public had a right to know about this.”
Unifor is filing a complaint to the CRTC on the licensing issue as well as a labour grievance against the contracting out.
Unifor is Canada’s largest union in the private sector, representing more than 315,000 workers in every major area of the economy. The union advocates for all working people and their rights, fights for equality and social justice in Canada and abroad, and strives to create progressive change for a better future.