Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) - Ontario

Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) - Ontario

June 19, 2009 10:01 ET

CUPE Ontario President Sid Ryan-"Windsor Star 'Made Up' Quotes Attempt to 'Demonize and Demoralize' Striking Workers"

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - June 19, 2009) - CUPE Ontario President Sid Ryan today called on the Windsor Star to stop resorting to false quotes in their quest to "demonize and demoralize" municipal workers who have been on strike in that city for ten weeks.

The decision to speak out publicly comes after a June 16 column where Windsor Star columnist Chris Vander Doelen falsely claimed Mr. Ryan told strikers and supporters at a June 12 rally that any offer city negotiators made "won't be enough."

"There are core principles that good journalism adheres to. Throughout the strike we have had continued discussions with the newspaper calling on them to uphold these principles. Manufacturing a key quote is the last straw. It's not just about a columnist taking potshots at me. This latest incident, at best, is a gross misstatement and the last straw. It is about a consistent effort by this newspaper to undermine CUPE's credibility with the residents of Windsor and to demonize and demoralize those women and men who have stood fast in the face of relentless attacks on the opinion and editorial pages of the paper," said Mr. Ryan.

The column alleges Mr. Ryan, in a speech outside Windsor City Hall to striking CUPE members and their supporters, made a statement regarding an upcoming bargaining session between the striking locals and the City of Windsor's negotiating team. In the article, Mr. Vander Doelen states:

Ryan told the troops during his speech in front of city hall last week: No matter what city negotiators offer next Tuesday, he told them last Friday, "it won't be enough."

An extensive review of the speech reveals no such utterance ever occurred. Video of the speech and a transcript of Mr. Ryan's remarks are available for viewing at www.cupe.on.ca.

Throughout the ten week city workers' strike, the Windsor Star has consistently published editorial positions and columns using unnamed sources, and often maligned striking workers and attacked union leadership for defending hard-won workplace rights, says Ryan.

"Making up quotes to score cheap points at the most delicate point in bargaining, is not principled," says Ryan.

Ryan has demanded the Windsor Star retract the story immediately and publicly apologize, and is currently in consultations with legal counsel. As well, a complaint to the Ontario Press Council will be filed next week.

"The Windsor Star owes more than an apology to a single individual. They owe an apology to every one of those striking workers and to the citizens of Windsor, who should be able to expect that the information they get in their local newspaper is grounded in fact, rather than fiction. Readers deserve better," adds Ryan.

Contact Information

  • Kevin Wilson
    CUPE Communications
    416-821-6641