Journal de Montréal

Journal de Montréal

June 05, 2006 06:25 ET

Journal de Montreal Management Condemns Serious Acts of Vandalism and Calls for Speedy Arbitration

MONTREAL, QUEBEC--(CCNMatthews - June 5, 2006) -

Wild strike by pressroom employees

The management of Le Journal de Montreal condemns the serious acts of vandalism against pressroom equipment committed by some pressroom employees during the evening. The rampage, which caused hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage, and the walkout by employees are particularly regrettable in view of the fact that the 115 pressroom employees enjoy the best working conditions in the industry in North America, with an average salary of $115,000 per year for a 32-hour week. Almost all have job security up to age 65. The management of the Journal apologizes to readers, employees and advertisers for the inconvenience caused by this situation, which is entirely beyond its control.

It should also be noted that an agreement attached to the collective agreement contains a special clause to the effect that a strike or lock-out may last a maximum of 20 weeks and that interest arbitration becomes mandatory as soon as a labour dispute breaks out.

"The management of the Journal would have liked to take the matter to an arbitrator without having to go through a labour dispute which needlessly penalizes all the employees, readers and partners of the Journal," said Lyne Robitaille, President and Publisher. "We cannot understand the union's decision to resort to mayhem and even to endanger the health and safety of other employees. We call for the matter to be referred to arbitration immediately."

"Since the bargaining talks began on April 17, we have tried hard to reach a settlement," said Ms. Robitaille. "Management sought the help of a conciliator but this did not produce the desired results. We even agreed in principle to the conciliator's proposal that we entirely relinquish our lock-out rights and refer outstanding issues to an arbitrator, an entirely neutral, fair and scrupulous individual chosen by both parties. We believe that arbitration was and remains the only possible solution under the circumstances. Since the issues will ultimately be settled by an arbitrator, as provided by the Agreement,(1) we won't negotiate the details of the collective agreement in public."

Major challenges

Le Journal de Montreal faces major challenges in a highly competitive industry that is in transition. Management reached contract renewal agreements with mailroom and inserting employees earlier this year, which will help the newspaper meet those challenges. Management is proposing operational adjustments and new ways of doing things to pressroom employees.

"The other printing plant employees have approached the challenges we are facing in a spirit of openness," said Ms. Robitaille. "We would have hoped that the pressroom employees, who enjoy job security and the best working conditions in the industry, would have adopted the same attitude and agreed to make adjustments, or if agreement is impossible that they agree to submit our differences to arbitration without launching a labour dispute."

Journal management has taken measures to maintain the safety of its employees and its property, and to ensure that the newspaper is printed.

Le Journal de Montreal is owned by Sun Media Corporation, Canada's largest national chain of tabloids and community newspapers. Sun Media publishes eight urban dailies, covering most major centres in Canada, three free dailies, nine local dailies, and nearly 200 weeklies, buyers guides and other specialty publications in Canada. Its newspapers have a combined weekly circulation of over 12 million copies. Le Journal de Montreal, founded in 1964, is the largest-circulation newspaper in its market. Sun Media Corporation is a wholly owned subsidiary of Quebecor Media Inc., one of Canada's leading communications companies and owner of a string of industry-leading media properties in Quebec and the rest of Canada.

1 Excerpt from the Agreement on job security attached to the collective agreement: "It is agreed that, if either party decides to exercise its strike or lockout rights... the matter shall immediately be referred to arbitration...; the parties shall proceed with arbitration expeditiously."

Contact Information

  • Quebecor Media
    Isabelle Dessureault
    (514) 295-0304