Final vote on National Post union will be determined by labour board hearing
Workers at the National Post will have to wait a little longer to find out if they are joining a union.
The results of a Sept. 29 vote on whether newsroom staff will join CWA Canada will be determined after an Oct. 11 hearing at the Ontario Labour Relations Board.
Union organizers say that a majority of workers voted in favour of joining the union. But seven names on management’s list of employees will be challenged by the union, who believe these people do not belong in the bargaining unit.
Currently, the vote count stands at 31 in favour of 59 staff members. In Ontario, for a union to be certified there must be a majority of 50 per cent plus one. The seven challenged ballots are not included in that count.
“The company added a few names to the employee list – which then became the voters list – that we believe are not part of the unit,” the union organizing committee said in a press release provided to J-Source. “These few ballots have not yet been counted and were kept aside as ‘challenged.’ The union is submitting arguments to the labour board this week about why we think these additional names should not be in the union. If we succeed, these ballots will not be counted and the vote will stand.”
On Sept. 13, 2017, CWA Canada and the editorial staff of the National Post announced they had begun a push for unionization. “We’re unionizing because we love this newspaper. We want the Post and its newsroom staff to have long, bright futures,” the union organizing committee said in a statement on the site for the National Post union.
Martin O’Hanlon, president of CWA Canada, said that the workers actually approached them to begin a union organization effort after management announced cuts to staff pensions and benefits. “People really got upset,” O’Hanlon told J-Source a few weeks ago.
“Even the people that are quite philosophically conservative — and some of them actually anti-union — realized that their only possible way to fight back would be to bargain collectively,” he added.
On Sept. 22, CWA Canada organizers announced that they were applying for union certification after a months-long organizing drive. “We’re unionizing because we love this newspaper,” the newsroom union committee said in a statement posted on their website. “We want the Post and its newsroom staff to have long, bright futures.”
On Sept. 7, a week before the drive was made public, Postmedia management offered a buyout to staff, which, according to a memo from the union organizing committee obtained by J-Source, was the same as an offer distributed in 2016.
CWA Canada organizers have remained confident throughout the drive that enough employees had signed union cards to proceed to a certification vote. “The buyouts didn’t really have an impact on the effort,” Katherine Lapointe, a CWA Canada organizer, told J-Source last week.
H.G. Watson was J-Source’s managing editor from 2015 to 2018. She is a journalist based in Toronto. You can learn more about her at hgwatson.com.