Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Merry? Not really

The Toronto Sun newsroom is not the merriest of places as Christmas 2008 approaches and it will only get worse in 2009 as the last of the layoffs take effect.

"After the layoffs are finished, there will be about 80 people left in editorial, down from about 200 when Quebecor took over in 1999," says Brad Honywill, president of the Southern Ontario Newsmedia Guild.

Depressing numbers for a major Toronto daily newspaper that was never top-heavy with staff at the best of times.

(Speaking of numbers, is there a Deep Throat out there who can provide TSF with the number of employees working out of 333 when Quebecor bought Sun Media in 1999 and the number of employees throughout the building today? We have heard 700 to 800 in 1999.)

More depressing than the numbers is working in the newsroom with colleagues who have been laid off, but will be on the job until their layoffs become effective in the new year.

"Under the contract, members must be given eight weeks notice of a layoff," says Brad. "The employer can opt to pay these people cash, in lieu of notice, if they want them to leave immediately."

Otherwise, laid off union members continue to work for another eight weeks.

How can you continue working for an employer who has told you your talents are dispensable?

"Having gone through a layoff, I know it can be a tortuous process working through the notice period," says Brad. "But it does give you time to prepare a resume, get your finances in order and search for another job."

It has been one brutal week, but we wish you all a Merry Christmas:

The hundreds of people who have been forced out of their dream jobs at the Toronto Sun in the past decade;

The dozens who are about to say goodbye;

The remaining staffers who are doing what journalists are born to do - the best job possible.

And Michael Sifton, the former Osprey Media chief who provided more optimism for Sun employees in one short year than enjoyed under Quebecor since 1999.


  1. Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah, Festivus, etc... for all newspaper employees in all companies.

    Our numbers are dwindling, but in the end I hope people want real news from real people ... and Perez Hilton doesn't win in the end.