Dave Dale, president of the North Bay Newspaper Guild, says
his remaining 70 members are frustrated by layoffs, consolidations
and looming contract clawbacks as Quebecor-owned Sun Media
squeezes small-town assets to shore up the bottom line in
“We don’t want to strike. We don’t want
to attack our employer. We want to grow the newspaper and
its online products,” says Dale.
“But negotiations are not going
well as Sun Media erodes the benefit structure and offers
pennies to the inserting mailroom employees who already
earn the least. (The company has) proposed reducing the
beginning hourly pay to minimum wage for any new hires.”
The loss of eight workers to layoffs this spring, which
followed a layoff of six before Christmas 2008, as well as
reduced front-office hours and recent tight-fisted bargaining
positions has forced the Guild to seek the support of local
readers and advertisers, says Dale.
For the first time in 20 years, the
Guild has bought an advertisement on a city bus asking
supporters to “Demand
More Local Employment from Your Local Newspaper." The
ad directs fans of local news to the Guild website (www.nbng.org)
where people are urged to send an email or letter to Dan
Johnson, the Nugget's publisher.
“And we hope the message is eventually heard in the
top offices of Quebecor where the strategy to cut local assets
and services to feed the corporate coffers begins,” Dale
“We have to do something and
we hope this small step convinces the Nugget that local
services and employment are the key to success.”
David Wilson, CWA Canada staff representative, says bargaining
at the Local has achieved little and conciliation could be
the next step for North Bay.