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.