Sunday, 30 March 2008

TorSun deal

Updated o3/31/08 re Windsor Star
Unionized Toronto Sun employees have a new contract.

A 95% vote by the Southern Ontario Newsmedia Guild members ratifies a second three-year contract, with 2% pay hikes each year, says SONG president Brad Honywill.

The new contract, retroactive to Jan. 1, 2008, includes a $1,000 hike (spread over three years) in wages for reporters and photographers on top of the 2% increase in exchange for increased multi-media responsibilities.

Honywill says vision care will be increased to $200 from $150 and the kilometre rate goes to 45 cents, from 42 cents, over three years.

"We have 110 members in the Toronto Sun editorial unit and that number is expected to rise with the recent round of hiring announcements. Just under 60% voted. The vote was taken Saturday between 1 and 5 at the SONG office on Queen St."

Honywill says the $1,000 in addition to the 2% is spread over three years: $500, $250 and $250. There were also some lump sum payments (not included in wage) and some increases for individuals.

"Congratulations to staff rep Howard Law, bargaining team chair Rob Lamberti and his team of Stan Behal, Jim Slotek, Zen Ruryk and Wayne Janes," says Honywill.

The contract settlement was inked five days after both sides resumed negotiations following a two-week recess. The talks began in January with both sides agreeing not to comment on the status of the negotiations.

Pay hikes for additional multi-media duties have been an issue in contract talks across North America. Fair is fair. At the Sun, a reporter's words, photographs and video can appear in the print edition, on the Internet and on SUN TV.

(See the Windsor Star strike vote story re demands for compensation for increased duties to provide Canwest with online content. The paper's contract deadline for 240 CAW members is April 16.)

With a new Sun contract, additional staff, a return to local news and Lou Clancy in the newsroom, Sun staffers can concentrate on doing what they do best - kick butt by thinking tabloid, not broadsheet.

Congrats to all for what appears to have been an amicable contract negotiating process and for avoiding the roadblocks that 252 locked out and striking Journal de Quebec employees have experienced for 11 months.

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