First in a series: CNN Philippines unionizing
By MARC GUERRERO
CABLE News Network (CNN) owned by the Ted Turner Company maintains a strong union of its broadcast media workers.
When the Atlanta, Georgia company sets up shop in another country outside of America, it would do well for “industrial peace, harmony, synergy and compassion” to also encourage an advocacy for labor.
CNN Philippines,which is more than one year in slow but sure operation of its freeTV in the PH (five years if its cableTV and payTV test-broadcasts are included), appeared to be experiencing some rough sailing in the area of building up its corporate infrastructure to become stronger in the face of its more rooted and established competitors ABSCBN 2, GMA7, ABC 5 and the government channels.
Ordinary workers of CNN number less than 500 people, and in order to survive the economic difficulties being made to prevail by unmanageable forces in the country seemed to be just “going with the flow.”
To unionize or not to unionize is an issue that must be given top priority, because they have little or no-choice at all, which in fact many of them will not easily admit.
I had observed unions in media for 30 years, and the songs remained the same “Ang Takot ay nasa ISIP lamang.”
People in media wanted a strong and credible union that will not “sell” their economic and employment causes to the highest bidders in top management.
But many people in media are still afraid to lose their next paychecks.
They want more benefits and privileges in exchange for becoming more productive in doing their high-risk journalistic jobs, but many people in media would not want to to make it public that they are joining the union, or leading the organizing of a genuine union in media.
As a result, quality of life for any media workers in newspapers, magazines and book publishing houses, radio and TV broadcasting companies, and the mushrooming web outfits, just becomes an elusive dream.
A short history of CNN Philippines
In a nutshell, CNN Philippines started up as TalkTV from 2011 to 2012.
TalkTV became Solar News Channel from 2012 to 2014.
Solar News became 9TV from 2014 to 2015 before it transitioned to CNN Philippines from October the 14th, 2014.
CNN Philippines is an all-news and current affairs channel in the PH. It is owned and operated by Nine Media Corp together with Radio Philippines Network (RPN) as the main content provider under the license of US-based media company Turner Broadcasting System (a division of Time Warner). Replacing 9TV, CNN PH is the local franchise of the Cable News Network (CNN). It is also the fifth local franchise of CNN in Asia, after CNN Indonesia, CNN Türk, CNN Arabic and CNN-IBN (India).
CNN PH’s local live programming is produced from the Upper Ground Floor of the Worldwide Corporate Center, Shaw Blvd corner EDSA, in Mandaluyong City with the transmitter located at the RPN Compound, No 97 Panay Avenue, Bgy South Triangle, Quezon City. On Oct 14th, 2014, Turner Broadcasting System with Nine Media signed a twelve-year brand licensing agreement, until December the 31st, 2027, that will build the alliance between the two news agencies on television and online.
CNN PH was launched on March 16, 2015, 6:00 AM (PST) and is seen on RPN’s flagship station DZKB-TV, Channel 9 in Metro Manila and among all regional stations in Channel 9 Cebu and Davao, Channel 12 Baguio, Channel 10 Iriga, Channel 8 Bacolod, Channel 5 Cagayan de Oro and Zamboanga. It operates 18 hours daily from 6AM to 12AM on free TV while its programming broadcasts 24 hours daily on cable, satellite and live streaming providers.
CNN Philippines workers’ rights should reflect global standards
If CNN Philippines’ workers dilly-dally in getting organized as a full fledged media entity with a reliable union then BBC London and other foreign media brands may follow suit; perhaps Mr Ramon Ang, the current top honcho, may lead the way to “industrial peace, harmony, synergy and compassion” within the ranks of the CNN PH media workers by first encouraging them to unionize and let it become as strong as the CNN mother company’s union, the National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians–Communications Workers of America (NABET-CWA). Not all businessmen of the 21st century, however, are born to become legacy builders as their forefathers. But one thing is certain: you can leave a lasting legacy by force, by inspiration, by persuasion, or by motivation.