Journal Lockout Digest: He’s a scaaaaaaaaab!

It was spun as a victory at Rue Frontenac, but the union lost far more than it won in the latest round at the Commission des relations du travail.

In a decision issued Wednesday (PDF), commissioner André Bussière dismissed all but one of the complaints issued by the Syndicat des travailleurs de l’information du Journal de Montréal, which represents locked-out Journal de Montréal workers. The STIJM made numerous accusations about people and companies working as scabs for the Journal, mostly in roundabout ways.

Among the conclusions reached by the commission:

  • The setup of the Agence QMI wire service was not an illegal act. Stories from other Quebecor entities were assigned by them, and the Journal had no assigning ability over workers of other publications. The only communication between them (other than the stories themselves) were daily skedlines (lists of stories) that were sent from the news outlets to Agence QMI and then distributed to its members.
  • The revamping of websites for 24 Heures and 7jours were part of Quebecor’s business plan and not measures to bring in scabs.
  • The cartoonist YGreck, who has been providing editorial cartoons for the Journal de Québec, is not a scab even though his contract with the JdQ was changed so he would provide more general (less regional) cartoons on a daily basis to replace the Journal de Montréal’s Marc Beaudet. His orders came from the JdQ, not the JdM.
  • Joseph Facal, whose freelance column went from once a week to twice a week when the lockout started, is not a scab because the second column replaces that of other external freelancers who left the paper because they didn’t want to scab.
  • Freelancers who worked on special sections of the Journal were not scabs.

The one complaint that was upheld concerned Guy Bourgeois, who wrote the Défi diète column in the Journal. The complaint concerned the fact that he began conducting interviews in the 2009 version, which was different from previous versions and also violated the collective agreement. The commission agreed, and said the Journal can no longer make use of his services as an interviewer.

Notably, the decision used the Journal de Québec decision as a precedent, countering the Journal’s argument that he wasn’t a scab because he never entered the building.

It’s a silver lining in a decision that the union is not happy with. The STIJM has vowed to continue the fight.

In other news:

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