Saturday, 5 March 2011

SONG response

Brad Honywill, president of CEP Local 87M, responds to the Maclean's story:

"The situation in Quebec is quite different than Ontario.

"Both Le Journal de Quebec and Le Journal de Montreal had very rich contracts that were the envy of newspaper workers across North America.

"They had a four-day, 32-hour work week, for example, and were paid overtime for vacation to recognize the extra costs that are incurred in travelling. They even got time off when going through a divorce.

"That put a big target on their backs when the newspaper industry went into decline.

"While unionized workers at Sun Media newspapers in Ontario are well-paid, they aren't out of line with what is paid at other unionized papers in their market.

"Ultimately, we see no sign that Quebecor will take a similar stand in Ontario.

"That being said, we applaud the tenacity and courage of the Journal de Montreal journalists and support staff who put everything they had into defending their contract. 

"We supported them throughout and now have a much closer connection than before the lockout."

Thank you for the update, Brad.


  1. Let me preface this comment by saying I am pro union all the way.
    That said ...
    I take issue with this comment by Brad:
    "That being said, we applaud the tenacity and courage of the Journal de Montreal journalists and support staff who put everything they had into defending their contract."

    I am not defending Quebecor management whatsoever, but it's this very attitude that nearly put the Big Three automakers under.

    Again, it's a combination of the union and management. But there comes a time when a union has to be a tad realistic.

    32-hour, four day work weeks in the newspaper industry with all those other clauses is not even remotely realistic.

    Instead of standing side-by-side with your brothers and sisters "defending their contract" union leaders should have laid it out realistically and said it was a contract that simply couldn't be defended.

    Instead of showing pragmatism and trying to come up with an acceptable compromise for both sides, the union dug its heels in and so did management. At the end of the day, nothing was gained, everything was lost.

    There's no doubt that unions have to fight the good fight from time to time, but there are also situations where they have to dig their heads out of their asses and show some compromise.

    This was one of those times.

    I would post my identity, but I don't want Brad kicking me out of the union. LOL.

  2. The Sun employees who aren't unionized sympathized with our Montreal counterparts, but at the same time felt pretty left out considering how little they make compared even to Ontario's unionized writers...

  3. I agree with Brad. It's another province, another labour culture, a whole other union and a whole other kettle of fish.
    The part that Anonymous 2:47 (why do these all sound like Biblical passages?) disagreed with, was, imo, a gracious way to sign off. I have/had friends at Le Journal, and while I've joked about the perqs in their contract, there's far too much sniping over who makes a few dollars more, and not enough about who makes hundreds of times more.
    Meanwhile, every wage clawback, layoff and concession hurts our economy, pushing wages farther down in response to the loss of consumer spending the clawbacks created in the first place.
    Jim Slotek
    Vice Chair
    Toronto Sun Unit
    Local 87-M