Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Home delivery

Maryanna Lewyckyj, former Toronto Sun vet and bargaining team member, writes:

"When I was part of the bargaining team for the Toronto Sun collective agreement, one of the things on our 'wish list' at the start of negotiations was free home delivery for Sun editorial employees.

"At the time of bargaining (2003 to early 2004), I believe it wasn't available for delivery seven days a week, so we were only shooting for weekend delivery.

"When we had to winnow the wish list to items we were willing to strike for, the free papers fell off the table as the union was told it was the responsibility of editorial employees to read the paper every day and it was clear the company didn't wish to provide this perk.

"But here's the curious part. I learned from a staffer at the London Free Press that ABC rules allowed the paper to be counted as a 'sold' paper. That's because the cost of the paper showed up as a 'taxable benefit' item on employee T4s.

"At the time, the London Free Press had a rule that all employees were required to take the 'free' paper. Some employees disliked this because it triggered a tax liability. However, it served an important purpose for the employee: To prop up circulation figures."

Thank you for your e-mail, Maryanna. So Quebecor's edict will lower print circulation if employees decide not to buy their own papers.

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