Globe and Mail workers vote for strike

Another offer from management is expected today by the union, which represents about 500 editorial, sales and circ staff, says a senior representative. But in the case of a strike or lockout June 30, Globe writers will be publishing their own online news site.

Globe and Mail‘s unionized employees are expecting another contract offer from management today after 97% voted in favour of a strike if a better deal is not reached before June 30.

About 500 editorial, ad sales and circulation staff are represented by the union, and about 311 turned out for the vote on Saturday. At issue is a six-year contract offer presented by management at the Globe, owned by CTVglobemedia Inc., that includes a total compounded salary increase of 7.2% over six years, one week of unpaid leave each year for all staff, and lengthening the workday by half an hour without compensation.

‘For about 30% of the workforce they’re seeking pay cuts, for many of the other folks they’re looking for a two-year wage freeze, which would essentially mean a wage cut after inflation,’ Brad Honywill, president of Local 87-M of the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union, tells MiC. Changes to overtime pay and pensions are also at stake. ‘We believe the Globe and Mail is a high quality product, but in order to maintain that high quality it has to hang on to a high quality staff,’ he says.

Honywill expects another offer from management today and for negotiations to continue later this week, but a strike or lockout could happen midnight June 30 if an agreement isn’t reached by then.

Most newspapers continue to publish during a strike, but Honywill says Globe writers would be putting out their own product. ‘The Globe and Mail writers they’re used to seeing won’t be in the Globe and Mail, they’ll be on an online union newspaper,’ he says. Advertising would be available on this site, he adds.

The Globe has not been immune to the economy’s impact on media across the country. Earlier this year the newspaper laid off 30 unionized employees and about 60 individuals accepted a voluntary severance package. Globe publisher and CEO Phillip Crawley could not be reached for comment before deadline.