Talks between the company that publishes the Vancouver Sun and Province and the union that represents their workers broke down after two days of negotiations earlier this month over contracting out of the printing of both newspapers.
That increases the likelihood of a labour dispute in a year’s time over Pacific Newspaper Group’s plan to have outside companies handle the printing.
“They can lock us out or we can go on strike,” said Unifor Local 2000 vice-president Gary Engler. “Of course, we have the right to picket and all of those sorts of things.”
Postmedia Network recently announced it will sell the Surrey property where its printing plant is located and either contract out the printing or build a new plant that would require fewer workers. The company imposed a Nov. 18 deadline for an agreement to be reached on staffing levels for a new plant, but a Unifor release called the company’s demands “too extreme” for the union to accept.
“Among other conditions, the company insists on the right to choose from among our current members as to who would be able to work at a new plant,” it stated. “It was estimated that only about one-quarter of our current Kennedy Heights members would be asked to work at the new facility.”
The union also claims the company offered far less severance pay for displaced press operators than it has offered its editorial and business staff under a Voluntary Staff Reduction Plan.
The collective agreement between Unifor and Postmedia’s subsidiary Pacific Newspaper Group expires on Nov. 30, 2014. Engler said the company suggested more talks in January, but the Unifor release called agreement “highly unlikely.” PNG announced it has already contracted with Transcontinental Printing to handle printing in the event that agreement cannot be reached with Unifor on staffing levels for a new plant.
Engler said the recent talks revealed that only the Sun would be printed at Transcontinental’s plant on Annacis Island, however, with another printing company handling the Province. The current collective agreement prevents contracting out, and its provisions would be extended under the B.C. Labour Code in the event of a strike or lockout.
“We know where the printing is going,” noted Engler. “Transcontinental is unionized as well. Where the Province is going is a non-union plant.”
Meanwhile, another large U.S. hedge fund has acquired a major ownership interest in Postmedia. Silver Point Capital recently bought a 19 per cent stake in the company, which makes it the second largest owner of Postmedia behind New York-based GoldenTree Asset Management, which owns about 35 per cent.
Canada’s largest chain of dailies, which was founded in the 19 century by the Southam family, was bought out of the bankruptcy of Canwest Global Communications in 2010 by a group of its creditors, with financial backing from several U.S. hedge funds.
Vancouver journalist Marc Edge is a frequent contributor to The Tyee.
- See more at: http://thetyee.ca/Blogs/TheHook/2013/11/26/Postmedia-Union-Talks/#sthash.4D7Zafpj.dpuf
Relief efforts are underway in the Philippines after Friday’s massive typhoon, with some analysts calling it the most powerful storm to ever make landfall. Thousands may be dead, and homes, businesses and infrastructure are lying in ruin.
Your help is urgently needed. Through our partnership with OXFAM Canada, you can make a donation earmarked for Typhoon Haiyan relief that qualifies for a matching contribution from the Canadian government. Click here to make your donation now.
OXFAM’s workers on the ground in the Philippines are ready to deliver water and sanitation material to where it is most needed. Your donation will help deliver the relief where it is needed most. Union members have always delivered when we’ve asked, and you’ve always made us proud.
Click here to make your donation. The Canadian government is matching individual donations until December 9, 2013.
Les secours ont été déployés aux Philippines après le passage vendredi dernier d’un typhon dévastateur, que certains analystes ont qualifié comme la plus puissante tempête qui ait jamais touché terre. On craint des milliers de morts, et les maisons, les entreprises et l’infrastructure sont en ruine.
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Cliquez ici pour verser votre don. Le gouvernement du Canada égalera les dons versés par les particuliers jusqu’au 9 décembre 2013.
* ATTENTION EDITORS AND AWARDS COORDINATORS *
Call for Submissions for the
Canadian Hillman Prize in Journalism
Postmark Deadline January 9, 2014
4th Annual Prize Honours Excellence in Journalism
In Service of the Common Good
The winner(s) of the Canadian Hillman Prize will be announced in mid-March and awarded travel to receive a certificate and a $5,000 prize at a reception to be held on Tuesday April 1, 2014 in Toronto. The winner will also get to travel to New York City to participate in the U.S. awards ceremony to be held May 6, 2014. The Canadian winner will be listed among all Hillman Prize winners on the Hillman Foundation website.
There is no submission fee. A cover letter and four copies of the nominated material are all that is required.
Since 1950, the Sidney Hillman Foundation has honoured journalists, writers and public figures who pursue social justice and public policy for the common good. Sidney Hillman was the founding president of the Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union of America, a predecessor union of Workers United, SEIU. Sidney Hillman, an architect of the New Deal, fought to build a vibrant union movement extending beyond the shop floor to all aspects of workers’ lives.
“In each of the three years the Canadian Hillman Prize has been awarded we have been exposed to the tenacity, hard work and creativity of Canadian journalists who are unflinchingly committed to exposing injustice and seeing it corrected,” said Alex Dagg,Director of Operations, National Hockey League Players Association (NHLPA) and member of the board of directors of the Sidney Hillman Foundation. “Reflecting on the past year’s news, we anticipate a tough decision by our judging panel, which means Canadian media are doing it right.”
Please forward all nominations/submissions to:
500-579 Richmond Street West
For more information and to see past winners, please visit the website at www.hillmanfoundation.org.