Jurisdiction to take centre stage
when bargaining resumes in Montreal
Montreal Newspaper Guild | CWA Canada
Job security promises to be the big-ticket
item on the table when bargaining resumes at The
Gazette next month.
The Montreal Newspaper Guild (MNG) is determined to
retain a jurisdiction clause in the three contracts
up for renewal after the CanWest-owned newspaper laid
off 45 circulation department employees last month
and exported their work to a company call centre in
"Major among the employer's
concession demands" during two days of bargaining
earlier this month "is the gutting of the jurisdiction
clause," says David Wilson, the CWA Canada staff
representative assisting the Local in negotiations. "Our
answer was 'Not in this lifetime, the next one or the
one after that'."
Three bargaining units were
in an "open" period
as of July 23, meaning that either side could legally
strike or lock out, although "nothing's happening," says
In Quebec, the open period begins 90 days after either
management or the union gives notice to start bargaining.
If there is a strike or lockout, the collective agreement
is no longer in force.
The employer gave notice in March that it wanted to
begin bargaining, but only with Reader Sales and Service
(RSS). Once the 90-day period expired on June 4, it
was clear the company would lock out the circulation
workers in order to achieve its layoff target.
Members of the RSS unit were split on the layoffs
issue. As a result, the MNG negotiated a settlement
of its grievance over the impending layoffs and obtained
an enhanced severance package for the members who were
losing their jobs on June 13.
The first round of bargaining for RSS, which is left
with 23 members, and the Editorial unit took place
July 16 and 17. Those talks are to resume at the end
Bargaining for the Advertising unit, which has 35
members, was to begin on Aug. 5, but will have to be
rescheduled at management's request.
Wilson says another concession being sought by management
is to rewrite the collective agreement for the Editorial
unit, which has 130 members, so that it refers to journalists
rather than reporters or photographers. That would
permit the employer to force reporters to haul cameras
along to assignments and turn photographers into reporters;
the better to serve CanWest's multi-media platforms
and demand for online content.
Wilson says the Guild is seeking to strengthen job
security and is looking for improvements for part-time