eyes were on the bargaining committee (top photo) as
members of the Ottawa
Newspaper Guild turned out for a noon-hour rally. The
Guild handed out black T-shirts
and buttons that declare: 'More For Less? NO!'
25 August 2008
Members mobilize at 2 CanWest newspapers
to show support for bargaining teams
Montreal Newspaper Guild | CWA Canada
Local 30111 Ottawa Newspaper Guild | CWA Canada
The newsroom at The
Ottawa Citizen virtually
emptied during the lunch hour today as employees
poured outside to rally in support of their union's
bargaining team, while their colleagues at The
Gazette in Montreal jammed
into Guild offices to do the same.
Lois Kirkup, president of the Ottawa
Newspaper Guild (ONG), says several dozen members,
including some from Reader Sales and Service, turned
out. "Everyone was enthusiastic and engaged. They
are very concerned about the outcome of negotiations" to
renew their collective agreement, she says.
Holder, treasurer of the Ottawa Newspaper Guild,
hands out T-shirts at today's lunchtime rally in
support of the bargaining team.
The parties will be in an open position — meaning
either side could legally strike or lock out — on
Sept. 10, following two days of mediation scheduled
for Sept. 8 and 9.
Management at the CanWest-owned newspaper has proposed
a five-year contract with minuscule annual increases
ranging from one to two per cent, at a time when national
inflation is running at 3.4 per cent. The ONG is seeking
a three-year deal and across-the-board salary increases
of 5.0, 4.5 and 4.5 per cent.
Kirkup says CanWest has used buyouts and attrition
to slash staff at the paper, particularly in the newsroom,
which means the remaining employees have had to shoulder
an intolerable burden.
Members today donned black
T-shirts and pinned on white buttons that declare: "More
For Less? NO!"
Kirkup says people who attended the rally were fully
behind the bargaining committee and were keen to demonstrate
that support in any way that was asked of them.
Simultaneously with the noon-hour rally in Ottawa,
about 70 employees of The Gazette, another daily owned
by CanWest, packed the offices of the Montreal Newspaper
Irwin Block, the Local's vice-president,
was standing room only" at the meeting, where
members decided to wear their black T-shirts and buttons
to work on Wednesday in a show of support for their
The MNG is determined to retain a jurisdiction clause
in the three contracts up for renewal after the newspaper
laid off 45 circulation department employees in June
and exported their work to a CanWest call centre in
Three bargaining units — editorial, circulation
and advertising — were in the open period as
of July 23. Negotiations for the first two units are
scheduled to resume at the end of this month; talks
on the advertising contract are set for Sept. 3 and