CanWest outsourcing more layout to non-union workers

The Tyee has an article about work being outsourced from the Vancouver Sun and Vancouver Province newsrooms into non-unionized positions in Hamilton, Ont. Currently, Hamilton takes care of things like stock pages and sports scoreboards, work which can be replicated for more than one paper. The TV Times is also produced out of one location, with the local programming grids and paper’s logo slapped on at the end. But now CanWest’s Vancouver papers are sending more pages to be done there, which is worrying union leaders.

This is kind of one of those grey areas with unions. Is it OK to hire non-unionized workers for union jobs if it’s being done in another city? Can you shift jobs from a unionized part of a company to a non-unionized part without problems?

Sun editor-in-chief Patricia Graham calls the layout being transferred “essentially a mechanical function.” The article doesn’t give details about what exactly is being transferred, but I’m guessing it’s debatable how “mechanical” such a function really is.

UPDATE (Nov. 10): J-Source has another post on the CanWest situation, including a union response alleging that Global is violating its CRTC licenses by centralizing its newsrooms.

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