Toronto Star union denounces plan for largest outsourcing in Canadian newspaper history

Star tells employees of massive outsourcing of editing jobs:
    Local journalism at risk of falling to foreign-owned firm

    Move "betrays every principle" the Star stands for, union says

TORONTO, Nov. 3 /CNW/ - Canada's largest newspaper has told its employees that it is in negotiations to contract out up to 100 union editing jobs, almost a third of its newsroom. The explosive news was contained in a company announcement this afternoon, on the paper's 117th birthday, of a buyout offer to all employees.

A further 60 jobs in the newspaper's pre-press area, including ad building and imaging technicians, are targeted for contracting out, the newspaper said. The paper has previously contracted out circulation jobs to India and classified call centre jobs to Buffalo. Torstar-owned dailies in Hamilton and Kitchener earlier announced plans to contract out ad building jobs to India.

"It's bad enough that the Star is turning its back on its own Atkinson principles to shed loyal employees," said Star union head Maureen Dawson. "Star readers will be shocked to hear that core aspects of its daily journalism, that vital role in our society, are now to be farmed out, likely to foreign interests.

"Journalism is a collaborative effort, the product of a team of reporters, photographers and editors working in concert to produce the kind of activist agenda that has served Star readers and our community so well for so long," continued Dawson. "To remove a critical element of that work is to shortchange everyone who depends on it."

Dawson is Star unit chair of the Southern Ontario Newsmedia Guild, a local of the Communications, Energy and Paperworks Union of Canada (CEP).

Noting the acute concern of Premier Dalton McGuinty, economists and others for the loss of creative knowledge-based jobs from Canada, Dawson called on Star management to reverse its decision and put its actions where its editorial voice is.

"We'll be proposing alternatives to this misguided plan, and we call on all who love and depend on the Star to urge its management and directors to do what's right, live up to its own Atkinson principles and protect these vital Canadian jobs," said Dawson.

"This isn't outsourcing, this is another example of one of our big media companies abandoning good-paying Canadian jobs," said Peter Murdoch, CEP's national vice-president (media). "The national union will be supporting every effort to protect these good jobs."

The Star was founded Nov. 3, 1892.

For further information: Maureen Dawson, Star Guild unit chair, (416) 209-6967; Dan Smith, vice-chair, (416) 522-4313