Staff at the National Post, the flagship publication of Canada’s largest newspaper company, announced Wednesday that they are beginning a union drive with CWA Canada. The paper’s beleaguered parent company Postmedia, which has suffered steep revenue declines affecting the entire print media industry, offered buyouts last week, just months after completing a company-wide salary cost reduction of twenty per cent.
“It has been a year of unprecedented events, of things we once thought were beyond the realm of possibility,” said the union drive’s organizers, in a playful nod to the paper’s conservative editorial bent that has often been critical of Canada’s labour movement. “A reality television star is president of the United States. Ontario’s liquor control board is planning to sell marijuana. And the National Post is unionizing.”
The Post is currently Canada’s only major non-unionized newspaper, and staff said in a statement that this, combined with the deteriorating financial condition of its parent company has meant that they have we “borne the brunt of cuts.” (The Post saw 25 staff depart last December, following a round of buyout offers associated with the salary reduction initiative announced in October 2016 and completed earlier this year.)
“We see unionizing as the best way to protect both ourselves and our readers across the country, who suffer every time the newspaper loses a great reporter, photographer, editor or designer to a buyout or a better-paid job with a competitor,” adds the statement.