TORONTO, Sept. 15, 2023 /CNW/ – The fight for promised compensation and benefits is on, say angry union leaders representing Metroland Media workers after bombshell news that the media giant is killing 70 community newspaper print editions and laying off 605 media workers, including 106 unionized members of Unifor Local 87-M.
NordStar’s Metroland announced Friday it has sought bankruptcy protection in a move that completely blindsided the union, Unifor 87-M said. Most shockingly, the media giant stated it will not pay collectively bargained termination severance, voluntary departure deferred salary payments or post-retirement benefits.
“The gloves are off,” said Carleen Finch, president of Unifor Local 87-M. “We will use every and all legal actions at our disposal to fight this inhumane treatment of our members, many of whom spent their whole careers at their paper serving their communities.”
“I can hardly express the level of betrayal we feel today,” Finch said. “After months of bargaining in good faith and reaching agreements, Metroland is throwing so many of us out of work without a word of notice. What’s worse is that the company has told us it will not pay contractually obligated severances, deferred salaries or retirement benefits such as prescription drugs that many retirees rely on.”
Fortunately, Metroland employees’ and retirees’ pensions are not affected by the bankruptcy protection move because the union negotiated the merger of the employer pension plans into the very large and financially secure Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology (CAAT) public pension plan several years ago, the union said.
“I am shocked and appalled that the company would do this to us after we bargained in good faith,” said Mark Newman, chair of the union members at Hamilton Community News, one of the papers affected by the layoffs. “Local news gathering is going to die right across southern Ontario as a result of this action by Metroland and to not pay severance to dedicated journalists who have worked hard for decades is despicable.”
Unifor Local 87-M is a composite Local of media and knowledge workers across southern Ontario, including large daily newspapers Hamilton Spectator, Toronto Star, Globe and Mail, and Toronto Sun. Unifor is Canada’s largest private-sector union with more than 315,000 members in all sectors of the economy, including media.
SOURCE Unifor Local 87-M