Journal Daily Digest: The union cause is growing

Journal picket line

Support for locked-out Journal de Montréal workers seems to be growing, or at least solidifying. After provincial politicians agreed to boycott the Journal and Quebecor Journal-replacement journalists, federal Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff has also agreed not to grant the paper any interviews. He joins the rather expected NDP and Bloc caucuses, but not the Conservatives (at least, the ones who weren’t dodging the question from Le Devoir).

Meanwhile, the Union des artistes and the Fédération autonome de l’enseignement have both decided to support the union (again, not unexpectedly) and say they’ll refuse interview requests. The UDA’s boycott (and the stated reasons for it) were enough to prompt an open letter from Pierre-Karl Péladeau to set the record straight.

Sign, sign, everywhere they sign

All this gave the union a kick in its step as it took to the street today to protest against Quebecor. The theme speficially was the we-take-all-your-rights contracts that Quebecor is making freelancers sign. (I can’t help but point out how self-serving it is to only worry about freelancers’ contracts now that you’re on the street.) Plenty of coverage of the pickets from:

How much do they make?

There’s still lots of confusion over how much journalists at the Journal make in a year. The employer says the average is $88,000, while the union counters that the average salary is more like $50-$60,000 a year. (Editor Lyne Robitaille, feeling that her reputation is being threatened, took another page out of the Journal (PDF) to explain her position to readers again.) Richard Martineau rakes Richard Therrien over the coals for Therrien’s blind acceptance of the union’s figures, I guess as revenge for all the stuff Therrien has written about Martineau lately).

I don’t have access to the figures, but I’m willing to bet this is merely a difference in interpretation. The employer is using figures on T4 sheets, which represent the total money being paid to employees, including overtime and other monetary benefits. The union is probably using the base salary as set in the contract for its figure, which doesn’t include the perks and is therefore significantly lower. If you’re getting paid $88,000 for 30-hour weeks, that’s one thing; if it’s for 42-hour weeks because of all the overtime, that’s another.

Also of note (and nobody disputes this) is that the staff at the Journal is tilted toward the higher end of the scale because the average age is high and the average level of experience is also high.

In other news

2 thoughts on “Journal Daily Digest: The union cause is growing

  1. Anonyme

    Actually, to be fair with the union, the JdeM made their freelancer sign more than a year ago a similar contract to the one we’ve seen lately. A few months later, we received a letter from the union saying they had gotten that contract revoked.

    Reply

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