Kingston Typographical Union | CWA Canada
Employees at the Kingston Whig-Standard voted overwhelmingly Sunday to ratify a tentative agreement that leaves them in sort of neutral territory.
David Wilson, the CWA Canada staff representative who assisted the Local in the "hard bargaining" that has dragged out over almost two years, says the best part of the three-year deal is that "We only have to live with this for one year."
The contract with the Quebecor/Sun Media newspaper, which expires Jan. 19, 2012, contains annual wage increases of zero, 1.0 (retroactive to Jan. 19, 2010) and 1.5 per cent. It covers 78 members who work in editorial, advertising and the mailroom.
Wilson says the membership, which voted 100 per cent in favour of a strike mandate in October, empowered the bargaining committee when it went into mediation last week.
The company, says Wilson, had a lot of takebacks on the table. Many of them were abandoned and "they came up with some money."
The union was able to pull the photo editor position out of management and back into the editorial bargaining unit. Two workers in the editorial department who were laid off have to be offered part-time employment and each compensated to the tune of $2,500.
Another perk for the union's members was a signing bonus of $400 for full-time employees and $200 for part-timers, which the bargaining team won because "we put the screws to them," says Wilson.
Quebecor has been determined to foist a retrograde sick-leave and benefits plan on all employees company-wide, which was a stumbling block from the get-go, says Wilson. But they finally had to accept that "it's a mountain you're not going to be able to move."
The bargaining team did, however, beat the employer back on its demand that workers pay 100 per cent of any future increase in premiums; they settled at 50/50 co-pay.
Wilson says one of the more laughable proposals was that the company would put Family Day in the contract and take away one floater and three personal days. When it was pointed out to management that Family Day is a legislated holiday in Ontario and not something the company can grant or withhold, the idea was scrapped.