Workers at the Windsor Star newspaper have given their bargaining committees an overwhelming strike mandate as they try to reach a fair collective agreement with Postmedia. On January 28, unionized workers voted 97 per cent in support of strike action, sending a strong message of solidarity to their employer.
“This employer has tabled huge concessions including reduced benefits, weaker pensions, cuts to vacation entitlement and elimination of retiree benefits,” said Unifor’s Julie Kotsis, Chair of the Joint Council, which represents members of Unifor locals 240 and 517-G, as well as Communications Workers of America- Canada (CWA) Local 30553.
The Joint Council representing workers of the two unions began negotiations with the employer in October 2016. The most recent five days of bargaining did not result in an agreement. The collective agreement expired on December 31, 2016.
Postmedia Network Inc., the nation’s largest newspaper publisher, says the workers must accept concessions, blaming ongoing revenue declines.
Postmedia posted a small profit last quarter and is clearly struggling, yet executive compensation climbed by 33 per cent last year.
Despite the lavish compensation of executives, Windsor Star workers have only received a 1 per cent increase in five years, while CEO Paul Godfrey received a five per cent raise to $1.7 million in 2017. At the Star more than half the staff are in part-time positions.
“These proposed concessions on the backs of Windsor Star workers and retirees will not save this company,” said Kotsis, who along with being the chairperson in bargaining she is also the Vice-President of Unifor local 240.
Postmedia has slashed 57 per cent of its workforce since incorporating in 2010.