Union seeks answers as Quebecor "abandons" plant workers

    OTTAWA, June 8 /CNW Telbec/ - The president of Canada's largest media
union, Dave Coles, is calling on the president of Quebecor to review its
sudden decision to close its Southeast Marine Drive operation in Vancouver, a
profitable printing plant that employs nearly 200 workers.
    "I am surprised and disappointed that Quebecor has decided to abandon its
employees," says the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union president
in a letter to Wes W. Lucas, president and CEO of Quebecor.
    Meanwhile, the members of CEP Local 525G are still absorbing the
implications of the closure, expected later this year.
    The plant, in operation at that location for more than 50 years, prints a
host of familiar magazines as well as products destined for other markets and
the popular new commuter daily, "24 Hrs." It employs 130 unionized workers and
about 60 non-union staff.
    "This facility is profitable," says union Local president Alex Charles.
"The employer called all of the staff together to congratulate them on meeting
their sales targets for the year - by April - and two days later assembled
them again to tell them the place was closing."
    "While plant closures are not uncommon, most involve facilities that were
no longer profitable," continued Charles. "That's what frustrates us about
this situation. The employer's negotiators were absolutely up front with us
about it. They said they were closing the plant because they don't want to do
business under this collective agreement any more".
    "That's a pretty powerful admission," Charles observed. "Even though
they're still getting their profit, they're closing the place because they
think the workers there make too much. That's just spiteful. It's a lousy way
to treat the people that have been generating your company's wealth".
    "This highly profitable employer is simply trying to send a message to
working people that it's okay for corporations to make good money, but not for
workers," said Charles. "That's not going to wash in Canada in the
twenty-first century. Our members won't be pushed backwards, to face
tomorrow's prices with yesterday's wages. What is this company thinking?"

For further information:

For further information: Michelle Walsh, (613) 230-5800, ext. 222; Alex
Charles, (604) 879-5171

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Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada

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