President Martin O’Hanlon said CWA Canada has requested a meeting with Postmedia in the wake of its announced purchase of Irving-owned newspapers, which include three dailies at which the media union represents workers.
Brunswick News owns all of the English-language print publications in the province — six weeklies plus The Daily Gleaner in Fredericton, Saint John Telegraph-Journal and the Moncton-based Times & Transcript.
O’Hanlon said he wants Postmedia to clarify its plans and will be seeking assurances that it will improve the newspapers and hire more staff.
“Postmedia CEO Andrew MacLeod says he looks forward to continuing the Brunswick News ‘legacy’,” O’Hanlon said. “Unfortunately, that legacy is diminished newsrooms and lack of resources.”
“We will be pushing Postmedia to improve the newspapers, we will ensure employees’ rights are defended, and we will fight for a stronger collective agreement when it comes time for bargaining.”
Toronto-based Postmedia, which already owns 120 titles, including 10 dailies at which CWA Canada represents workers, is the largest publisher in the country.
Its acquisition of Brunswick News extends its reach from coast-to-coast, noted O’Hanlon.
“Unfortunately, this is another blow to media diversity. It’s just replacing a provincial newspaper monopoly (Irving) with a national one.”
David Arsenault, president of the Moncton Typographical Union (CWA Canada Local 30636), said his members at the Times & Transcript “stand committed to delivering quality journalism in our online and print editions as we have done for decades to the readers of New Brunswick.”
Members of CWA Canada Local 30664, the New Brunswick Media Guild, work at either The Daily Gleaner in Fredericton or the Telegraph-Journal in Saint John.
Postmedia said in a news release that the sale agreement is subject to various closing conditions, including approval by the Toronto Stock Exchange. There was no indication that it would have to pass muster with any federal government agency such as the Competition Bureau.