In a memo to staff, John Honderich, Chair, Torstar Corporation, and Michael Cooke, Editor, Toronto Star say that union withdrew support.

The following memo was sent to Toronto Star staff on July 22, from John Honderich, Chair, Torstar Corporation, and Michael Cooke, Editor, Toronto Star.

To all newsroom staff:

Last week, we proposed and the union agreed to a joint process for an independent facilitator to help us examine current newsroom culture.

Today we regret to report the union has withdrawn its support, writing that the proposed agreement “is not in the best interest of its members.”

The point of contention surrounds the use of interviews and material that would inevitably arise from this process.

The union insists that it be able to use all such material in the separate grievance it has launched. The company is strongly opposed.

If the facilitation is to work, staff must feel comfortable to speak confidentially and openly. If they know their words could be used in a grievance or they could be called to testify, we believe this could cause a chill and jeopardize the overall process.

There is simply no way we can agree to this condition.

As you know, we were very anxious to find out if the union’s claims of a toxic workplace where bullying and harassment are rife had any merit, and if there were ways to improve the way we work.

Now with the union’s rejection, based upon all of the above, this will not be feasible.

This means, with very much regret, we must put a hold on any process.

John Honderich-Chair, Torstar Corporation

Michael Cooke–Editor, Toronto Star