Black Press blocks Unifor’s attempt to end dispute

DUNCAN, BC, March 14, 2015 /CNW/ – The owners of Black Press have rejected mediation to solve the 3.5-month old strike at the Cowichan News Leader Pictorial. Unifor members in Duncan have been on the picket line since December 1 to defeat the employer’s proposal to give inferior wages and benefits to new employees (“two-tiering”).

“Bargaining has to be about compromise. We’re prepared to meet until a deal is done,” said Scott Doherty, an Assistant to the National President for Unifor. “It’s shocking for an employer to flat out refuse mediation. Black Press must get back to the table and focus on solutions.”

In 2014, it is estimated that Black Press made a $20 million profit. There are 12 employees at the Cowichan News Leader Pictorial.

“The gains that Black Press can make by cutting wages for new hires at the News Leader represents a rounding error in their national budget,” said Unifor Local 2000 plant chair Lara Stuart. “Our negotiators have presented options to the employer but Black Press refuses to consider alternatives.”

Black Press will soon complete a deal with Glacier Media Inc that will see it own all the newspapers on Vancouver Island‎ with the exception of the Victoria Times Colonist. Black Press will own a virtual monopoly of the print media on the Island, but the deal has yet to be approved by the competition bureau.

Unifor is calling on community members to join the picket lines to show support for maintaining good jobs in the Vancouver Island community.

Unifor is Canada’s largest union in the private sector, representing more than 305,000 workers. It was formed Labour Day weekend 2013 when the Canadian Auto Workers and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers unions merged.