JANUARY 4, 2005 – Many readers will be familiar with the reputation of the Toronto Star, centre of Canadian liberalism. It portrays itself as pro-women, progressive, and pro-labour.
But its parent – TorStar corporation – is currently engaged in a dispute which puts a lie to this entire reputation.
Sixty members of the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union (CEP), Local 87-M, have been on strike since December 6 last year against their employer, Brabant Newspapers which since 2003 has been owned by TorStar.
Many of the strikers are women working in the inserting department. According to a flyer distributed on the picket line, “Torstar pays Brabant’s women inserters a top rate of $8.99 an hour – at least $1.52 an hour less than their male equivalents, which we believe is contrary to Ontario law.”
But they have been offered an insulting wage freeze in year one of a new contract, followed by “raises” of 13 cents and 14 cents an hour. They can accept this, and a one-time lump sum payment of $400 if they abandon a pay-equity complaint laid against the company.
These are poverty wages. But you won’t read about this dispute in The Toronto Star or any of the other papers it controls in the Whitby, Toronto, Waterloo corridor.
Support these workers. The picket line is at 333 Arvin Ave. in Stoney Creek. Showing up before noon is a good time to find the strikers, and to show your solidarity.
And send a letter to the “liberal” Toronto Star” (firstname.lastname@example.org) demanding that they respect the rights of women workers.
© 2005 Paul Kellogg. This work is licensed under a CC BY 4.0 license.
 “Torstar Profits Improving,” The Spectator, July 31, 2003, sec. Business.
 “Hamilton Web and Brabant Workers Picket Outside Spectator,” The Spectator, December 17, 2004, sec. Business.