Category Archives: Negotiations

New contracts at Victoria Times Colonist reflect Glacier Media’s devotion to quality journalism, local production


Negotiations that spanned 18 months and two owners have finally produced new contracts for two CWA Canada Locals that represent workers at the Victoria Times Colonist.

The four-year agreement, which will expire Jan. 2, 2015, includes wage boosts of 1.0 per cent in 2013 and 1.5 per cent in 2014, plus a $250 signing bonus in lieu of retroactive increases.

“We lost nothing,” says a jubilant Chris Carolan, president of the Victoria-Vancouver Island Newspaper Guild (VVING).

“While the gains are modest,” says CWA Canada Director Martin O’Hanlon, “the fact that they avoided concessions in the current newspaper climate is very significant.”

The previous contract, which expired at the start of 2011, had been negotiated when the daily newspaper was owned by Canwest. The chain’s newspapers were acquired by Postmedia Network when Canwest became insolvent. Negotiations with Postmedia began in May 2011, but reached an impasse last September when the employer attempted to reintroduce significant items the joint bargaining council believed had been removed.

Shortly thereafter, Postmedia sold the Colonist to Glacier Media, which publishes more than 60 community newspapers, primarily in Western Canada.

Carolan says it became obvious after a meeting earlier this year between the three unions and Orest Smysnuik, the company’s chief financial officer, that Glacier Media was interested in reaching a fair agreement that both sides could live with.

When bargaining resumed, “we accomplished more in three days than we did in the previous 18 months, which tells us our new employer is eager to grow the company at the local level, rather than offshore,” says Carolan.

Members of VVING, which represents 153 employees in editorial, advertising, circulation, maintenance, information technology and business departments, voted 96 per cent in favour of ratifying the tentative agreement. Members of British Columbia Local 30403, which represents 35 workers in the mailroom, voted 92 per cent in favour. Members of CEP, which represents workers in composing and the pressroom, also voted with large majorities to accept the deal.

Carolan and O’Hanlon had expressed their “cautious optimism” in a news release welcoming the ownership change a year ago, saying they were “heartened by statements Glacier has made in the past about quality journalism.” Glacier had lamented in an annual report that “the demise of many North American newspaper and media companies has in part been self-inflicted. The Internet has been a factor, but the reduction of content and quality through continual cost cutting has played a significant role.”

Paul Godfrey, CEO of Postmedia, which has slashed jobs and sacrificed quality at all of its metro dailies in order to service a huge debt load, told the Globe and Mail the Victoria paper’s union rules were also a motivator for the sale. (Their contract prevents outsourcing services such as pagination.) He claimed that employees hadn’t bought into the company’s “Digital First philosophy.”

Carolan countered at the time that his members simply objected to the centralization of pagination in Hamilton and ad production in the Phillippines: “We bought into Digital First, we just didn’t buy into shipping our jobs to Manila, Dominican Republic, Hamilton, Calgary, etc.”

He observes now that “the atmosphere for the most part at the negotiating table with Glacier was a pleasant surprise compared to the earlier negotiations when Postmedia was our owner.

“We also understand that our industry is changing at a rapid pace and we believe we can work with the company within the parameters of our newly signed four-year collective agreement to address any concerns that may occur.”

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Members ratify new contract at Times Colonist

The Victoria Joint Council of Newspaper Unions

Here are the voting results from the  Victoria Joint Council of Newspaper Unions:
TNG-CWA Guild              96% in favour of tentative agreement.
TNG-CWA Mailers          92% in favour of tentative agreement.
CEP Compositors             86% in favour of tentative agreement.
CEP Pressmen                   73% in favour of tentative agreement.

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Nanaimo Daily News members vote in favour of strike

Members of Local 2000 working at the Nanaimo Daily News voted Wednesday in favour of a strike, if necessary, after talks with the employer broke down last week. Pressmen voted 100% in favour of strike action, while members in Composing, Sales, Pre-Press and Editorial covered under one agreement voted 85% in favour, in an effort to secure a new agreement with their employer.
CEP Local 525G, which represents the mailroom staff at the Daily News, had already taken a vote and the members delivered a 100% strike mandate to their committee.

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Tentative Agreement reached between the Victoria Joint Council of Newspaper Unions and the Times Colonist.

The Joint Council and the company agreed on a four year contract.

There were no concessions

2011      0%
2012.     0%
2013.     1%
2014.     1.5%

Signing Bonus to all employees of $250.00 on December 1,2012.
All unions will hold ratification vote meetings this week.

Victoria Mailers

The Mailers will hold our meeting on Wednesday October 10, 2012 at 9:30pm at the Union Office.

Composing room and Pressroom

Local 2000 will conduct its ratification vote for the composing room immediately after the meeting on Tuesday. Pressroom members will be able to vote from 5:30 until 8:30 p.m.


Enjoy your weekend.
Victoria Joint Council of Newspaper Unions.

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Victoria Joint Council of Newspaper Unions

Negotiations between the Victoria Times Colonist and the Victoria Joint Council of Newspaper Unions will commence on Friday, June 29, 2012.  The CEP (Compositors, Platemakers and Pressmen) will be the first of the Unions to meet the company to discuss their “peculiar” issues.

Further meetings will be scheduled at a later date. The Joint Council will update you once the dates are confirmed.

Victoria Joint Council of Newspaper Unions.

CWA/SCA Canada Local 30223 (VVING)                                                               203-2610 Douglas St.

CWA/SCA Canada Local 30403 (Mailers)                                                              Victoria, B.C. V8T 4M1

CEP Local 2000                                                                                                          Phone: 250-388-7328

Fax: 250-384-6733  E-mail:


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Talks hit impasse at Victoria Times Colonist


An about-face by management of the Victoria Times Colonist has brought contract talks with three unions screeching to a halt.

The Victoria Joint Council of Newspaper Unions says meetings planned for next week have been cancelled and no new dates have been scheduled. The impasse was reached when the employer attempted to reintroduce significant items the Council believed had been removed.

Negotiations to renew three collective agreements that expired at the start of this year began on May 1. Two CWA Canada Locals and the Communications Energy and Paperworkers bargain jointly at the newspaper, which is now owned by Postmedia Network.

The Victoria-Vancouver Island Newspaper Guild represents 153 employees in editorial, advertising, circulation, maintenance, information technology and business departments. The 35 workers in the mailroom belong to Local 30403 while CEP’s 29 members work in the pressroom, pre-press and composing.

The unions faced similar difficulties in negotiations four years ago when the newspaper was still owned by Canwest. The company at that time went into talks seeking major concessions that one union spokesman described as “total decimation.” In the end, however, they were able to reach agreement on new contracts that went forward rather than backward.

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Gazette locks out some production workers

Source: The Montreal Gazette


About 20 full-time and a number of part-time employees who work at The Gazette’s production facility on St. Jacques St. in Notre Dame de Grâce were locked out Sunday night after rejecting the company’s final contract offer.

Employees in four other units affiliated with the Teamsters – pressmen, machinist-electricians, paper handlers and building services – approved new contracts in votes on Sunday.

The main stumbling blocks in negotiations between management and its locked-out workers are staffing, working hours and overtime pay.

Bob Pruden, vice-president of labour relations for Postmedia Network Inc., said the previous contract had minimum staffing provisions that are far beyond what is required today, given the changes in the newspaper industry.

“Everybody is aware of the impact that the Internet and new technology like iPads and so on have had on the newspaper business,” he said. “In terms of our circulation, the number of papers we produce and also the advertising in those papers and the advertising inserts have all declined significantly over the last five years covered by the previous collective agreement,” Pruden said on Monday.

Denis Fournier, negotiator for the Teamsters Local 41M, said he was disappointed with the employer’s decision. “Management agreed to leave a four-day week in place for the workers (in the four other units), while requiring the mailing and plate-making workers to work five days a week,” Fournier said.

The locked-out employees include two active members of the platemakers’ unit, positions the company wants to abolish, and fewer than 20 regular, full-time mailers. There are also a number of full-and part-time substitutes in the mailroom who are assigned their shifts by the union.

The Gazette will continue to publish uninterrupted during the lockout.

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