Ontario Federation of Labour

Ontario Federation of Labour

June 28, 2005 12:14 ET

WOMEN FIRED IN PAY EQUITY DISPUTE OCCUPY

TORONTO STAR EXECUTIVE OFFICES Attention: Assignment Editor, City Editor, Media Editor, News Editor, Government/Political Affairs Editor TORONTO--(CCNMatthews - June 28, 2005) - Last week Torstar fired the all-female mailroom inserting staff at its Stoney Creek subsidiary Brabant Newspapers. Torstar fired all 26 women who are among the 59 production staff who've been on strike since December 5, 2004. Why were they on strike? Earning between $8 and $8.99 hourly, they want pay equity with male pressroom colleagues (who are on strike with them). Pay equity is supposed to be guaranteed by Ontario law as a basic labour right.

Early this morning ten of the fired women workers, all members of the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada, Local 87-M, and Cec Makowski, Vice-President (Ontario Region) of the union occupied the executive offices the Toronto Star at 1 Yonge Street in Toronto.

"This is the 2nd pay equity strike in four years for the inserters whose work has been found twice by company committees to be paid $1.52 per hour less than the equivalent pressroom job. The result of the first strike was an agreement to comply with pay equity laws. Yet here we go again," says a June 27 news release from CEP. "The inserters have been on strike since for seven months, along with their pre-press and pressroom co-workers, still seeking pay equity."

Torstar's response has been to defiantly refuse to put a single nickel more on the table and instead has demanded that the inserters accept lower annual wage increases than their pressroom brothers, widening the existing pay equity gap even further. Torstar has dragged its feet in response to legal procedures initiated by the union at the Labour Board and pay Equity Commission, and those government agencies continue to let them get away with it, prolonging the strike.

Torstar announced the closure of mailroom and fired all 26 women only days after the six-month job guarantee available to all strikers under Ontario had expired. The company then sent the remaining pressroom and pre-press strikers individualized invitations to surrender their strike, come back to work or see their jobs permanently given away to scabs.

OFL President Wayne Samuelson has condemned the company for its shabby and unethical treatment of these workers. "Today I've sent an urgent call out to the leadership of Ontario unions asking them to be on red alert to support these workers in their fight. We have laws in Ontario for a reason and this company can simply not get away with this unacceptable corporate bad boss behaviour," Samuelson said.

cope343 /For further information: Dana Boettger
OFL Communications Director
416.443.7665/ IN: FINANCE, JUSTICE, LABOUR, MEDIA, POLITICS

Contact Information

  • Wayne Samuelson, OFL President
    Primary Phone: 416-571-7408