National Post newsroom staff file to unionize

September 22, 2017

Newsroom staff at the National Post have officially filed for union certification after a strong majority of workers signed union cards.

CWA Canada, the country’s only all-media union, filed today with the Ontario Labour Relations Board. Under Ontario law, the board will organize a vote within the next week.

“We’re unionizing because we love this newspaper,” the newsroom union committee said. “We want the Post and its newsroom staff to have long, bright futures.”

CWA Canada President Martin O’Hanlon, a veteran journalist, said the union drive is about protecting quality jobs and journalism – and about fundamental fairness.

He said Postmedia should be investing in the paper and its employees rather than destroying itself by squandering profits and ravaging assets to feed its hedge fund and other lenders.

Most National Post staff have not received a pay raise in a decade and now Postmedia is slashing pensions and benefits while paying millions in executive bonuses and tens of millions to its lenders.

“If this was a matter of helping the company survive, most would be happy to do their part and share the pain, but Postmedia reported a profit in its most recent financial statement,” O’Hanlon said.

“It’s just not fair that employees are forced to give up tens of thousands of dollars in pension benefits and take a big cut in medical benefits so that Postmedia can put the savings to executive bonuses and unsustainable debt payments.”

CWA Canada is a 6,000-strong democratic union run by, and for, media workers at the CBC, The Canadian Press, Thomson Reuters, VICE Canada, Ottawa Citizen, Montreal Gazette, and other newspapers and media companies coast to coast.

For more information, contact:

Katherine Lapointe

Organizer, CWA Canada

(416) 795-8598 klapointe@cwa-scacanada.ca

National Post newsroom announces union drive

September 13, 2017

TORONTO, ONT.: It has been a year of unprecedented events, of things we once thought were beyond the realm of possibility. A reality television star is president of the United States. Ontario’s liquor control board is planning to sell marijuana. And the National Post is unionizing.

As a newspaper that has had a conservative editorial stance since its launch in 1998 and has remained Canada’s only major national non-unionized newsroom ever since, this will come as a surprise to many. But a lot has changed since 1998. The financial condition of our parent company, Postmedia, has significantly deteriorated. And even though we are Postmedia’s flagship newspaper and our staff have become increasingly responsible for creating content published across the entire chain, we have borne the brunt of cuts. We see unionizing as the best way to protect both ourselves and our readers across the country, who suffer every time the newspaper loses a great reporter, photographer, editor or designer to a buyout or a better-paid job with a competitor.

Last week, Postmedia management opened yet another buyout offer for the National Post newsroom, which means we’ll be losing even more skilled and experienced colleagues. But in recent days, they’ve been telling us they’re interested in hearing our concerns and care about making things better, saying they want us to be “working together in this fight.”

The company’s actions send a different message. In July, the company posted a rare $13 million quarterly profit. That profit came courtesy of a buyout and layoff program that has saved it 20 per cent of salary costs across the chain, in addition to $22.8 million in savings from cutting the benefits and pensions of workers at the National Post and others. Meanwhile, Postmedia executives received $2.3 million in retention bonuses last year — and three of them have left the company since.

We’re unionizing because we love this newspaper. We want the Post and its newsroom staff to have long, bright futures. We have broad support among our colleagues and are planning to file for certification soon.

– National Post union committee

For more information, contact:

Katherine Lapointe

klapointe@cwa-scacanada.ca

416-795-8598

Why We’re Unionizing

Some of your colleagues are working on forming a union for National Post editorial staff. This may seem like an unusual step for National Post employees. Some might even consider this a hell-freezes-over moment. But NP editorial staff have no other realistic option. We need a union. Logic and common sense demands it.

Postmedia is forcing us to take a pay cut that will cost each of us thousands of dollars. The company is slashing our pay and benefits for a simple reason: it can. The company’s financial future is far from secure. Without a union, there is nothing to stop Postmedia from subjecting us to even more cuts in the future.

There are some strong emotions behind our union drive. Many National Post editorial staffers — award winning reporters, editors, designers, photographers, videographers and producers who are among the finest media professionals in the country — are angry they’re being forced to take pay cuts while Postmedia executives — whose recent track record of achievement is somewhat wanting — are collecting bonuses. There is no logic in rewarding failure and penalizing success.

But emotions aside, there is a powerful and practical need to organize a union. We’re not blind to the challenges in the media business or at Postmedia. Times are tough and the industry is in peril. It’s possible Postmedia could be forced to seek bankruptcy protection in the not too distant future. Unionized employees with collective agreements have stronger legal rights in that process. Editorial staff must secure that protection. We don’t want to get Sears-ed. (Sears Canada is using court protection as a means to layoff non-unionized workers without severance pay.)

The bottom line is clear. We are far better off with a union than without one. Postmedia has already proven it has no qualms with slashing pay for the non-union workers. A union is the only thing that can check this behavior.

As media workers, we believe in what we do, and we believe that we should be valued, treated with respect and fairly compensated.

We believe that we can reclaim some of our feeling of goodwill and teamwork and a sense of belonging as well as a will to work together to put out a good newspaper.

We want to work with National Post management in a spirit of integrity and mutual respect to produce the news and improve our workplace. Specifically, we are aiming to:

  • Regain a sense of control—and even pride—about who we are and where we work.
  • Gain the ability to collectively negotiate to keep and improve our pension, health benefits and parental leave.
  • Create more consistency in salaries for similar work.
  • Have more transparency and communication between management and employees.

We hope that you’ll join us.

Sign a confidential union card now!