Threats of a class action lawsuit by CTV news personalities has Bell Media execs. soiling their undersilks.
Reliable sources tell Trash Magazine that the federal labour ministry has sicced one of its investigators on Bell Media to look into complaints that CTV has for years broken the law by denying non-unionized staffers from collecting overtime unless they worked 16-hour days.
Federal law stipulates eight-hour days, 40-hour weeks, unionized or no.
Mercedes Stephenson, Richard Madan, John Vennavally-Rao and numerous other reporters, producers and camerathingies are among the past and present CTV National News sluggos who claim they were cheated out of millions of dollars in unpaid wages.
They’ve enlisted the help of Toronto legalists Koskie Minsky-Korsakov, the same firm that led the charge for complainants in the class-action for unpaid overtime against BMO Nesbitt Burns Inc. An Ontario court last year ruled that BMO had to cough up $12-million to shortchanged sluggos.
A class action suit will be particularly bad news for CTV News supremo Wendy Freeman. When Bell Media took over CTV in 2000, management was told the 16-hour overtime rule contravened federal law.
But during her regime, Freeman has ignored these cavils, insisting that the law didn’t apply to national news staff (or anyone else in the Ottawa bureau).
Since the 16-hour rule goes back decades, a lawsuit and the possible riches that may ensue could be of special interest to one particular former CTV celebrity reporter.
Step forward, Mike Duffy, who laboured long and arduous hours of overtime and kept copious and detailed records of every moment he toiled in the service of his CTV masters.
Relax, Mike, you’re ineligible for any class action, since you had special contracts with CTV. The network scam screwed over working stiffs, not the star attractions with agents.