The Ottawa Newspaper Guild (ONG)
says in a news release that the company had tried to
force the union into recommending the proposal to its
members. In response, the bargaining team "tabled
its offer for settlement, which the Citizen refused
“We are standing up for our members,” ONG
president Lois Kirkup says in the release. “They
have not been treated well by this company and all
we are expecting is a fair deal.”
In a vote held last Thursday, members were 83-per-cent
in favour of giving their bargaining team a strike
mandate. The vote came in the wake of two days of mediation
on Sept. 8 and 9 that failed to budge the company from
its offer of a two-year deal with wage increases of
1.0 and 1.5 per cent.
The ONG's 203 members at the Citizen work in editorial,
circulation, building maintenance and financial services.
This is the first time in decades that bargaining to
renew the collective agreement has hit such obstacles.
But Guild members, particularly those who work in
the newsroom, have been saddled with an ever increasing
workload as the company slashed staff at the CanWest-owned
The two parties were in an 'open' position to legally
strike or lock out as of 12:01 a.m. last Wednesday.
At the time, Kirkup said the
Guild has "no intention
of striking. We are committed to talks ... until we
get a deal."