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TEAM Bulletin - MTS Media Sale

November 24, 2006 

At the urging of our membership, your CARs, and with the input and support of the MTS Media/YPG staff, your TEAM CAN Committee is issuing this bulletin to provide you with a fuller picture of what transpired before, during and after the sale of MTS Media to YPG.  The unity demonstrated by the Media TEAM members, risking enhanced VRIP and severance packages, in support of their friends and colleagues who were being short changed, is highly commendable and a true demonstration of what can be achieved when people work together.

In this bulletin: 

1.  Living the MTS Media Sale and Terminations

2.  Enhanced Packages Negotiated for TEAM Members 

3.  Out-Of-Scope Staff Lose All PLDs and two Company Days!

Yours truly, 

TEAM Communication Action Network Committee

1.  Living the MTS Media Sale and Terminations

The story from the inside…  

In August 2006 we were informed that MTS Media had been sold to YPG, that we would all be “offered employment” with YPG, and that the sale would close sometime in early October.  We were told that we would have a choice; to work for YPG, or to remain with MTS and likely be laid off and given severance packages.  Also, MTS Com would not be soliciting any MTS Media employees and one would have to apply for a posting or ask for a transfer to get into MTS Com at this time.  On a number of occasions in August and early September, MTS senior managers repeatedly stated how YPG was a great company to work for, of how YPG was impressed with our track record and that we should all be proud of our accomplishments.  Essentially: “all MTS Media staff here is your blindfold, please put it on” and trust us.

Mid-September: TEAM began to pressure MTS regarding the severance packages for MTS Media.  The answer from MTS was sorry there is no choice to be made, in fact all MTS Media staff and their pensions are to go to YPG on the October 2nd, period!  Our fears were confirmed, and at that time most of us could see the writing on the wall.  YPG is a company with operations in many other parts of the country.  It was not difficult to see right through their words of “YPG will offer employment to all MTS Media staff”.  There were now many anxious unanswered questions, such as how long and where will we have jobs?  Will there be any severances?  Answers that MTS said they did not know, and could not answer for YPG. 

TEAM now sped up the pace.  Following many panicky calls to the TEAM office, action was taken to urge members to unite, to send emails to MTS saying they do not want to work for YPG and that they reserved their rights to fight for their jobs at MTS and for MTS to live up to the promises that had been made; several grievances were submitted against MTS.

Friday, Sept 29, the last day as an MTS Media employee has arrived.  The stress of all the uncertainty has taken its toll.  As I sit at my desk, I try to read thru my emails and pick up my phone messages, try to do my work, and my mind simply will not function.  Never in all of my years of working at MTS have I felt this much despair.   

Monday October 2, all MTS Media staff are now YPG staff.  We all have jobs!  On Tuesday October 3, Marc Tellier, YPG CEO, holds a conference call for all staff, welcomes us all to YPG, says he understands there is a lot of uncertainty in the workplace, and reassures us that the collective agreement will be honored. 

Then two days later, on Thursday October 5, YPG puts its HR plan into action.  The promise to “offer employment to all staff” was kept, however this turns out to be only 4 days for about one third to one half of the staff, with later termination dates for the rest. 

TEAM and CEP members are called into meeting rooms, one group at a time and we are each given envelopes with letters inside that show our termination dates.  About half the clerical staff is terminated that day.  The TEAM members are all to be terminated, one third immediately, and the rest will all be terminated December 2006 and March 2007.  There are a lot of tears, hugs, shock, and sadness at what just took place.  That day felt, for the most part, surreal.  How do you say goodbye to so many people that you have known and worked along side for so many years?

At this point, TEAM and YPG continued to negotiate for a settlement, as YPG tried to apply pressure to have people sign their release forms as soon as possible.  Throughout the month of October, it was quite amazing to see the unification of members to fight back and go after YPG for a better settlement and to hold MTS accountable for their actions. 

Prior to the MTS Media sale, there were members who may not have fully believed that TEAM could make a difference.  In the end, the countless hours and the diligent effort by TEAM and the members did make a difference.  The result: an enhanced settlement achieved for every single MTS Media member.  If there is a message from all of this, I would have to sum it up as “stand up for each other, address all members’ issues, and be strong together”.

Today there are five MTS Media TEAM members who wish to return to MTS.  Perhaps I can soon give a positive update on this issue too.

TEAM Message:

We are often asked “WHAT HAS TEAM DONE FOR ME?”

The YPG story clearly shows what TEAM will do, and the support they do provide to their members in times of crisis, when MTS choose to take no further action on the promises made.

Ask yourself how you will feel when “ONE DAY ALL THE PROMISES DISAPPEAR!”

We, the members, have learned a great deal from the MTS Media sell-off and we need to send the strongest message possible to MTS that our jobs are more than “just business” to us, and it is personal when our jobs come to an end like someone turning off a light switch.

Individually we are alone, ………… Our Strength and Future comes when we Stand Together!