Unifor is disappointed and frustrated that Postmedia has largely kept the union and media workers hanging with a slow bleed of information that has provided no real clarity to workers about what jobs are on the chopping block.
“Workers are still in the dark after the company announced restructuring plans over a week ago. To dangle dire news that is detrimental to media workers’ livelihoods, careers and families is disrespectful and hurtful to the workers who have given so much to the company,” said Unifor’s National President Lana Payne.
“What’s very clear is this plan is about reducing staffing numbers only, getting numbers off the books. What’s not clear is if the company has a business model for the future,” said Payne. “If they want to sell news, they have to invest in the hard-working people who produce it, not slash and burn everywhere.”
Workers became aware of Postmedia’s new measures from an internal memo sent hours before a virtual town hall meeting on Jan. 18. The memo indicated the cost-cutting over the coming months as a part of its overall debt-reduction plan, but didn’t give any specific details – nor did it provide any concrete information to Unifor about what jobs would be lost and where. To date, no notice has been served to any of our bargaining units.
In a Jan. 24 townhall meeting for Postmedia editorial staff, led by Gerry Nott, the media company’s senior vice-president of editorial, workers were informed that the restructuring plan includes laying off 11% of its roughly 650 editorial staff across the chain.
“There isn’t a property in our network that won’t be affected by a restructuring, reorganization or layoff,” Nott ominously informed workers.
“Keeping these workers in limbo, worrying about their fate, is just cruel. Unifor is still waiting for Postmedia to get its act together and let us know the precise number of members who are affected,” said Julie Kotsis, Unifor Media Council Chair.
“In the meantime, we continue to stand by and support our members devastated by this news. We’ll do whatever it takes to fight for fairness for media workers,” said Kotsis.
Earlier this month, Postmedia unveiled its latest revenue report, which stated a net loss of $15.9 million during the quarter ending in Nov. 30, 2022, compared to $4.4 million in the same period the year before.
The media chain also bought Brunswick News Inc. from J.D. Irving in late March 2022 for $7.5 million and $7.6 million in voting shares of Postmedia, which included BNI’s daily and weekly newspapers, digital properties and parcel delivery business.
In October, Postmedia stopped printing Monday editions of nine major dailies – Vancouver Sun, Edmonton Sun, Edmonton Journal, Calgary Herald, Calgary Sun, The Province Edmonton Sun, Ottawa Citizen, Ottawa Sun and Montreal Gazette – citing news consumption habits of readers, needs of advertisers and rising costs of producing and delivering a printed product.
Unifor represents more than 10,000 media workers, including journalists in the broadcast and print news industry.
Unifor is Canada’s largest union in the private sector, representing 315,000 workers in every major area of the economy. The union advocates for all working people and their rights, fights for equality and social justice in Canada and abroad, and strives to create progressive change for a better future.