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Windsor news coverage threatened as newspaper strike looms

May 3, 2018

WINDSOR - Daily local news coverage in Windsor is under threat as owners of the Windsor Star seek massive concessions, while a midnight Friday strike deadline looms.

“Our newsroom has shrunk by more than 25 per cent as Postmedia seeks multi-year wage freezes while executive compensation climbed on average 33 per cent last year,” said Julie Kotsis, Chair of the Joint Council of Unions, which is bargaining for members of Unifor Locals 240 and 517-G, as well as Communications Workers of America-Canada Local 30553.

The Council of Unions represents 180 employees who work in the newsroom, advertising, sales and service, pressroom, mailroom and the business office. For more than a century they have served the community with a laser sharp focus on reporting local news, but recent cuts have meant fewer stories are reported on city hall, court proceedings, police and crime, politics and education.

“This employer wants to slash our pensions, vacation time, and health and dental coverage, all of which were negotiated and agreed to over many years, as the unions prioritized benefits over wage gains,” said Kotsis.

The Windsor Star employees earned just a one-per-cent wage hike over the last seven years, in stark contrast to the $1.7 million that Postmedia C.E.O. Paul Godfrey took home last year.

Postmedia is still Canada’s largest newspaper publisher but it has shed 57 per cent of its workforce since incorporating in 2010, and now argues workers must accept concessions because of ongoing newspaper revenue declines.

“We know this company has challenges but you don’t fix that on the backs of workers, by stripping away their wages and benefits,” said Katha Fortier, Assistant to Unifor’s National President.

Nearly half of the Windsor Star workforce is part-time, at the lower end of the pay scale. The collective agreement expired 16 months ago. Workers voted 97 per cent in favour of a strike and if a deal is not reached by the deadline of midnight on May 4, 2018 picket lines will be set up.

 

For more information, please contact Unifor National Communications representative Natalie Clancy: natalie.clancy@unifor.org or (902) 478-9283 (cell)