The arbitrator rejects the numerous concessions demanded by the employer and rules that the company is profitable...
LAVAL, QC, Oct. 1, 2012 /CNW Telbec/ - A long-awaited decision was rendered yesterday concerning the negotiations between Journal de Montréal's press operators, mechanics, electricians, equipment cleaners and material handlers and the company's management.
Me Jean Barrette, the arbitrator appointed in this case, rejected a good number of the many concessions demanded by the employer such as adopting a 12-hour work schedule over three or four days, changing the status of certain permanent employees to replacement workers, and substantially reducing wages and benefits.
Nor did the daily's management succeed in convincing the arbitrator that the company needed to improve its efficiency to maintain its competitive edge. In fact, the arbitrator decided that not only is the company profitable, its order book has been growing and its use of heat set printing technology brings added-value to the work.
"I believe the arbitrator grasped the company's situation in the printing market," commented Robert Bouvier, president of Teamsters Canada, the union that represented the roughly 125 workers in the Journal de Montréal case. "Consequently, he decided there was no need to cut the wages and lower the working conditions of our members."
The new three-year labour contract calls for a lump sum payment of $1,200 and a 1.2% increase in hourly pay for all workers except those above the pay scale, who will instead receive a lump sum amount.
The arbitration process was triggered by the eight-hour work stoppage in June 2011. This automatic negotiation mechanism is part of the job security provisions (Appendix F) in the collective agreements binding the parties since 1983. Journal de Montréal workers are the only ones in North America to have such an appendix despite the employer's past attempts to have it nullified. This time around, the employer tried to have its provisions modified, but the arbitrator refused.
"The employer's attempts to have this clause amended and to slash working conditions for no reason failed," added the union leader. "The solidarity exhibited by these workers sets an excellent example for all unionized workers in Canada."
It will be recalled that Journal de Montréal was founded in 1964 following a strike at La Presse. That labour conflict, which lasted more than seven months, led to the demise of Montréal-Matin (at the time a newspaper printed in the pressrooms of La Presse) and to the creation of Journal de Montréal by Pierre Péladeau senior.
The Teamsters Union represents 125,000 members in Canada in all trades. The International Brotherhood of Teamsters, with which Teamsters Canada is affiliated, has 1.4 million members in North America.
SOURCE: TEAMSTERS CANADA
For further information:
Stéphane Lacroix, Director of Communications, Teamsters Canada
Office: 450-682-5521 x236
Email: [email protected]