Saturday, September 20, 2008

Clock is ticking at the Ottawa Citizen

The union representing editorial employees is recommending rejection of the Citizen's "final" contract offer tomorrow.
Canwest is offering 2.5%, 2%, 2%, 2% and 2.5% over five years. That's a long contract, and if inflation goes back to the 1980s recession rate of 12%, Citizen staffers would lose more than half of the buying power of their salaries over the life of the deal. With the economy so shaky, they'd be foolish to take anything more than a three-year deal.
Here's what they make now (PDF file).

Ignoring the union's recommendation, the Petfinder journos voted to take the offer.


ppm said...

Hasn't The Ottawa Citizen Guild always accepted a contract? I don't remember them ever being locked-out or on strike over the past 20 years. I do remember the pressmen being locked-out or striking and the Guild not supporting them in one way or another... Anyways, the Ottawa Guild members are cowardly fart catchers. That is all... :)))

Ottawa Watch said...

They've made a pretty heavy bet against inflation, one that I wouldn't have made, and they've cut their union off at the knees.
It's an old news room full of people with no other prospects. I don't know why anyone would expect them to do anything more than bluster.

Anonymous said...

The Citizen journalists, according to the current agreement, took pretty small increases for inflation during the current agreement.

6.1 General wage increases will be implemented in the following form, unless otherwise indicated:

July 21, 2003 – 2.25%
July 21, 2004 – 2%
July 21, 2005 – 2%
July 21, 2006 – 2.5%
July 21, 2007 – 2.5%

$70,000 per year doesn't seem much these days for a senior reporter, after 5 years. at one of the top ten daily newspapers in the country.

Ottawa Watch said...

Inflation figures have been cooked for years. Inflation -- the real thing -- is more like 6%.
In 2003, $60K was alright money. Now, $70K works out to about $1700 clear every two weeks (or less, depending on your deductions). In Ottawa, that's enough to live on, barely. And that's the top rate for a reporter at, as you note, one of the country's better papers.