TORONTO — It has been a year of unprecedented events, of things we once thought were beyond the realm of possibility. A reality television star is president of the United States. Ontario’s liquor control board is planning to sell marijuana. And the National Post is unionizing.
As a newspaper that has had a conservative editorial stance since its launch in 1998 and has remained Canada’s only major non-unionized newsroom ever since, this will come as a surprise to many. But a lot has changed since 1998.
The financial condition of our parent company, Postmedia, has significantly deteriorated. And even though we are Postmedia’s flagship newspaper and our staff have become increasingly responsible for creating content published across the entire chain, we have borne the brunt of cuts.
We see unionizing as the best way to protect both ourselves and our readers across the country, who suffer every time the newspaper loses a great reporter, photographer, editor or designer to a buyout or a better-paid job with a competitor.
Last week, Postmedia management opened yet another buyout offer for the National Post newsroom, which means we’ll be losing even more skilled and experienced colleagues. But in recent days, they’ve been telling us they’re interested in hearing our concerns and care about making things better, saying they want us to be “working together in this fight.”
The company’s actions send a different message. In July, the company posted a rare $13-million quarterly profit. That profit came courtesy of a buyout and layoff program that has saved it 20 per cent of salary costs across the chain, in addition to $22.8 million in savings from cutting the benefits and pensions of workers at the National Post and others. Meanwhile, Postmedia executives received $2.3 million in retention bonuses last year — and three of them have left the company since.
We’re unionizing because we love this newspaper. We want the Post and its newsroom staff to have long, bright futures. We have broad support among our colleagues and are planning to file for certification soon.
Please see nationalpostunion.ca for more information and updates.
National Post union committee
Organizer, CWA Canada