Black Press Media has shut down the Abbotsford/Mission Times, a little more than a month after purchasing the B.C. paper from Glacier Media. The company also took down the newspaper’s website and closed its Twitter account.
When asked why the company was shutting down a newspaper it considered a worthy purchase in October, Rick O’Connor, president and CEO of Black Media, told J-Source the newspaper was losing “too much revenue” and not making enough money on advertisements.
“The losses were far greater than we had expected,” he said. “We’re not miracle workers … there is only so much we can do.”
O’Connor said most of the Times staff took the severance package offered by Glacier Media, leaving only four of the original 13 staff. “You can’t do the same work when a significant majority is gone.” Black Press will discuss future options for the remaining staff within the company.
As part of the sale from Glacier Media, Black Press also purchased the Chilliwack Times, which O’Connor said continues to operate for now alongside its competitor, Chilliwack Progress. He would not, however, comment on its financial viability.
“It was our belief that it didn’t make sense for readers to receive two community newspapers in the Abbotsford, Mission and Chilliwack markets on the same publishing days with tremendous duplication of content,” said Randy Blair, president of the Black Press Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island divisions, in a statement. ”In light of this, Black Press has harmonized publication days in the Chilliwack market so that the Chilliwack Times and the Chilliwack Progress will publish on different days.”
Black Press also owns the Abbotsford News, which will continue to publish.
Talks between the company that publishes the Vancouver Sun and Province and the union that represents their workers broke down after two days of negotiations earlier this month over contracting out of the printing of both newspapers.
That increases the likelihood of a labour dispute in a year’s time over Pacific Newspaper Group’s plan to have outside companies handle the printing.
“They can lock us out or we can go on strike,” said Unifor Local 2000 vice-president Gary Engler. “Of course, we have the right to picket and all of those sorts of things.”
Postmedia Network recently announced it will sell the Surrey property where its printing plant is located and either contract out the printing or build a new plant that would require fewer workers. The company imposed a Nov. 18 deadline for an agreement to be reached on staffing levels for a new plant, but a Unifor release called the company’s demands “too extreme” for the union to accept.
“Among other conditions, the company insists on the right to choose from among our current members as to who would be able to work at a new plant,” it stated. “It was estimated that only about one-quarter of our current Kennedy Heights members would be asked to work at the new facility.”
The union also claims the company offered far less severance pay for displaced press operators than it has offered its editorial and business staff under a Voluntary Staff Reduction Plan.
The collective agreement between Unifor and Postmedia’s subsidiary Pacific Newspaper Group expires on Nov. 30, 2014. Engler said the company suggested more talks in January, but the Unifor release called agreement “highly unlikely.” PNG announced it has already contracted with Transcontinental Printing to handle printing in the event that agreement cannot be reached with Unifor on staffing levels for a new plant.
Engler said the recent talks revealed that only the Sun would be printed at Transcontinental’s plant on Annacis Island, however, with another printing company handling the Province. The current collective agreement prevents contracting out, and its provisions would be extended under the B.C. Labour Code in the event of a strike or lockout.
“We know where the printing is going,” noted Engler. “Transcontinental is unionized as well. Where the Province is going is a non-union plant.”
Meanwhile, another large U.S. hedge fund has acquired a major ownership interest in Postmedia. Silver Point Capital recently bought a 19 per cent stake in the company, which makes it the second largest owner of Postmedia behind New York-based GoldenTree Asset Management, which owns about 35 per cent.
Canada’s largest chain of dailies, which was founded in the 19 century by the Southam family, was bought out of the bankruptcy of Canwest Global Communications in 2010 by a group of its creditors, with financial backing from several U.S. hedge funds.
Vancouver journalist Marc Edge is a frequent contributor to The Tyee.
- See more at: http://thetyee.ca/Blogs/TheHook/2013/11/26/Postmedia-Union-Talks/#sthash.4D7Zafpj.dpuf
When considering the future of print, remember that 80% of Canadians read newspaper content every week. The number of those who only access this content through digital formats is rising, of course. But one thing remains consistent: the belief that newspapers are a credible and comprehensive source of information.
Over the past eight years, newspapers have seen budgets cut and newsrooms shrink as readers — and more crucially, advertisers — have shifted from print to digital devices. To combat those shifts, publishers have drastically cut costs, reduced (or in some cases, completely halted) publication of their print editions, redirecting resources to digital editions and ad products instead.
* ATTENTION EDITORS AND AWARDS COORDINATORS *
Call for Submissions for the
Canadian Hillman Prize in Journalism
Postmark Deadline January 9, 2014
4th Annual Prize Honours Excellence in Journalism
In Service of the Common Good
The winner(s) of the Canadian Hillman Prize will be announced in mid-March and awarded travel to receive a certificate and a $5,000 prize at a reception to be held on Tuesday April 1, 2014 in Toronto. The winner will also get to travel to New York City to participate in the U.S. awards ceremony to be held May 6, 2014. The Canadian winner will be listed among all Hillman Prize winners on the Hillman Foundation website.
There is no submission fee. A cover letter and four copies of the nominated material are all that is required.
Since 1950, the Sidney Hillman Foundation has honoured journalists, writers and public figures who pursue social justice and public policy for the common good. Sidney Hillman was the founding president of the Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union of America, a predecessor union of Workers United, SEIU. Sidney Hillman, an architect of the New Deal, fought to build a vibrant union movement extending beyond the shop floor to all aspects of workers’ lives.
“In each of the three years the Canadian Hillman Prize has been awarded we have been exposed to the tenacity, hard work and creativity of Canadian journalists who are unflinchingly committed to exposing injustice and seeing it corrected,” said Alex Dagg,Director of Operations, National Hockey League Players Association (NHLPA) and member of the board of directors of the Sidney Hillman Foundation. “Reflecting on the past year’s news, we anticipate a tough decision by our judging panel, which means Canadian media are doing it right.”
Please forward all nominations/submissions to:
500-579 Richmond Street West
For more information and to see past winners, please visit the website at www.hillmanfoundation.org.
Postmedia Network’s B.C. papers have suffered a spate of bad news recently—a large number of employees took buyouts from The Province and the Vancouver Sun, and there were rumours the two brands would be merged into one newspaper. Then there was that memo from Pacific News Group president Gordon Fisher that riled many, putting two floors of its building up for lease and the sale of its B.C. printing plant.
“PNG has been in the news in Vancouver this year for a variety of, shall I say, wrong reasons,” The Province’s editor-in-chief Wayne Moriarty told J-Source.
Now, the two newspapers want to “reset” the conversation. Collectively, 86 per cent of Lower Mainland adults read the Sun and The Province every month. That’s a 10.3 per cent increase from a year ago, according to statistics in an editorial note Moriarty wrote.
The union representing Globe and Mail employees said the company must stop pointing the finger at them for its financial struggles.
“There is no denying The Globe is struggling, perhaps failing financially. We get it. But a blame-shifting approach won’t fix The Globe’s very serious problems,” said Sue Andrew, unit chair at the Southern Ontario Newsmedia Guild in a memo obtained by Christine Dobby at the Financial Post. “Characterizing Globe employees as having a sense of entitlement and suggesting that the collective agreement is somehow impeding the company’s success is negative, confrontational and counterproductive.”
MONTREAL, Sept. 26, 2013 /CNW Telbec/ – TransForce Inc. (TSX: TFI) (OTCQX: TFIFF), a North American leader in the transportation and logistics industry, today announced that, through its subsidiary Dynamex Canada Limited, it has acquired all the shares of Total Delivery Systems (“TDS”).
Headquartered in Victoria, British Columbia, TDS operates a network of 18 locations across British Columbia. TDS provides a wide range of courier and distribution services, such as local messenger, time sensitive delivery, overnight service, storage, logistics, LTL and just-in-time package delivery. The acquisition is expected to generate annual revenue of approximately $20 million.
“This acquisition significantly expands Dynamex Canada’s geographic footprint, service offering and density across British Columbia. We are pleased to work with TDS’s senior management to further develop the business opportunities that will arise from this transaction,” said Alain Bédard, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of TransForce.
TransForce Inc. is a North American leader in the transportation and logistics industry operating across Canada and the United States through its subsidiaries. TransForce creates value for shareholders by identifying strategic acquisitions and managing a growing network of wholly-owned, operating subsidiaries. Under the TransForce umbrella, companies benefit from corporate financial and operational resources to build their businesses and increase their efficiency. TransForce companies service the following segments:
Package and Courier;
Truckload, which includes specialized truckload and dedicated services;
Specialized Services, which includes services to the energy sector, waste management, logistics and ancillary transportation services.
TransForce Inc. (TFI) is publicly traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX: TFI) and the OTCQX marketplace in the U.S. (OTCQX: TFIFF). For more information, visit http://www.transforcecompany.com.
Except for historical information provided herein, this press release may contain information and statements of a forward looking nature concerning the future performance of TransForce. These statements are based on suppositions and uncertainties as well as on management’s best possible evaluation of future events. Such factors may include, without excluding other considerations, fluctuations in quarterly results, evolution in customer demand for TransForce’s products and services, the impact of price pressures exerted by competitors, and general market trends or economic changes. As a result, readers are advised that actual results may differ from expected results.
SOURCE TRANSFORCE INC.
For further information:
Chairman, President & CEO
Being president and CEO of the Newspaper Association of America is not a job for the fainthearted.
Your mission includes lobbying for, speaking for and galvanizing an industry that, while it is the press, hasn’t gotten very much good press, not for a long time.