Examiner latest to be bloodied
by Quebecor's scythe
Peterborough | CWA Canada
More than three dozen people are out of
a job today and the Peterborough Examiner no longer has a
pressroom or mailroom. For the first time since it was founded
in 1847, the newspaper was not printed in its own community.
Mere hours before press operators and mailroom
employees were due to report to work, they were called last
night and told not to come in; the newspaper was being printed
at a Quebecor plant in Toronto.
Business agent Nigel Sones says CWA
Canada Local 30248 is losing 32 members: 30 part-time mailroom
employees and two full-time pre-press workers. "We've probably lost more
than half our members since the Quebecor cuts started" last
year, he says. Another half-dozen pressmen, who belong to
a different union, are also jobless.
Quebecor, which purchased the Osprey
Media holdings two years ago, is simply treating the Ontario
dailies as cash cows, says a disgusted Sones. "You
couldn't sell these papers on their own now. They've been
In keeping with past practises at the Examiner, says Sones,
the terminated employees were given letters today in which
their legal entitlement is set out as a lump sum, with no
breakdown for vacation pay owed, pay in lieu of notice or
Sones, who will be meeting Thursday
with the laid-off workers to determine what, if anything,
they wish to do to protest Quebecor's ruthlessness, says "we'll
likely have 35 grievances."
"We've been through this at least five times this year
since Christmas," says Sones, noting that he's complained
in the past to publisher Darren Murphy about the lack of
As far as Sones is concerned, "This
has been done deliberately to confuse people. Maybe the
company is hoping people will take the lump sum and leave
and not even question it."
He points out that the mailroom has
the most vulnerable employees of the entire operation. "It's
a real melting pot. There's a wide range of ages, ethnic
backgrounds, language abilities."
Sones says he will have to go through all of the packages
to ensure the laid-off workers are receiving their proper
With these cuts, the Local now represents about 20 full-time
and a handful of part-time workers in advertising, editorial,
circulation and pre-press.
Quebecor's Sun Media division has been laying off employees
and shipping their work to non-union company facilities as
well as filling the papers with editorial content imported
from their newspapers in Toronto and Ottawa. CWA Canada represents
employees at some of the hardest hit of long-established
dailies, including those in Kingston, Sault Ste Marie, St.
Catharines, North Bay, Sudbury and Peterborough.