More than half of the unionized staff at the Red Deer Advocate are losing their jobs as a result of the closure of the Alberta daily’s pressroom and mailroom.
Mary-Ann Barr, secretary-treasurer of the Media and Communications Workers of Alberta (CWA Canada Local 30400), said the union is “extremely disappointed and saddened by the employer’s announcements Monday and today that 25 people will be laid off.”
Four employees in the pressroom and 19 in the mailroom will be out of work, effective July 1. As well, two people employed in classified/reception will lose their jobs as of Friday, said Barr.
CWA Canada President Martin O’Hanlon called the layoffs by Black Press Group Ltd. “callous” and “unnecessary.”
“This shows how much Black Press cares about Red Deer,” he said. “How can this company justify throwing 25 Red Deer residents out of work when it is poised to receive substantial subsidies from the federal government as part of the news industry bailout package? Sadly, it’s another case of profits over people.”
The company has indicated it is moving the pressroom and mailroom work to other Black Press operations, said Barr. “Over the past few years, there have been gradual reductions in Advocate staff numbers, but this is the largest single cut.”
“This of course is a blow to the employees affected, many of them long-term employees,” she said. “There will be a negative impact on the local economy as well, as these were decent-paying jobs with benefits.”
Nonetheless, the union said in a news release that it hopes the community and advertisers will continue to support the Red Deer Advocate as it now is the only local daily newspaper in the city.
Black Press also announced this week it is closing the Red Deer Express, a weekly newspaper.