Management at CanWest newspapers
tries to stifle union solidarity
Ottawa Newspaper Guild | CWA Canada
The Ottawa Citizen is refusing to
allow its editorial employees to pull their bylines
in a show of solidarity with fellow Guild members who
are attempting to bargain new contracts at The
Gazette in Montreal.
The newspapers are owned by CanWest
Global Communications Corp. Guild contracts at both
dailies contain clauses that give staff control over
their bylines and credit lines.
The Ottawa Newspaper Guild (ONG) has filed a grievance
over management's position and has no doubt it will
win the case, says president Lois Kirkup.
Language in the contract is
unequivocal, she notes. The relevant clause states: "Bylines
or credit lines shall be used at the Company's discretion
provided that an employee's byline or credit line
shall not be used over his/her protest."
The employer, says Kirkup,
is arguing that pulling bylines and credit lines
would hinder production and be a form of strike,
which is "nonsense."
The ONG, which through CWA Canada engaged in co-ordinated
mobilization efforts in late summer and early fall
when it and the Montreal Newspaper Guild (MNG) were
engaged in bargaining, continues to support the MNG.
Although the ONG ratified new collective agreements
late last month, the membership has been doing what
it can to help colleagues in Montreal.
Kirkup says the Local's members wore their black Guild
T-shirts to a townhall meeting with the publisher in
mid-October as well as to work.
"We're still trying to do things to support Montreal," says