DECEMBER 8, 2001 – Fifty newspaper inserters making poverty line wages and fighting for their first union contract have been stymied at every turn by their employer, media giant CanWest Global.
“In the lead up to Christmas, one of the most profitable times for newspapers, these women who make an average of $8 an hour, have literally been left out in the cold,” said Cec Makowski, the Ontario Region Vice-President for the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada.
The 50 women workers, many single moms and newcomers to Canada, have been forced out on strike against Hamilton Web, the printing arm of Brabant Newspapers owned by CanWest.
The workers, who joined CEP Local 87-M in May 2000, have been trying for seven months to reach a collective agreement.
The company is refusing to give them any kind of a raise until May, 2002, refusing to pay them the same wage as men doing work of equal value, and wants to re-classify most of them to part-time status.
“It’s a disgrace that a major Canadian media player can’t look itself in the mirror and realize how it’s hurting some of its most vulnerable employees with these discriminatory practices,” said Makowski.
Peter Murdoch, CEP’s Vice-President, Media, adds that “For years workers at Brabant have struggled to bring their wages up to industry standards. We are now faced with fighting to erase raw gender inequity. I can assure you our union will be supporting these women with all of our resources and we expect a good labour town like Hamilton to lock arms with us.”
CEP is Canada’s largest media union. The Hamilton Web inserters’ strike began November 20.
For more information and to send solidarity messages please call 416-998-3954.
© 2001 Paul Kellogg. This work is licensed under a CC BY 4.0 license.
 Steve Arnold, “Employees ‘shocked’ by Cogeco Cuts; Other Local Media Negotiating Contracts,” The Spectator, November 15, 2001, sec. Business.