CUPE national officers Paul Moist and Claude Généreux, accompanied by CUPE staff, went on a late night caper. Their objective? A working visit of the MédiaMatin production room where the last touches were being made to Wednesday’s daily —- the paper that locked out workers from the Journal de Québec have been producing since April 23rd two days after they were locked out by one of Canada’s media moguls, Pierre-Karl Péladeau, the owner of SunMedia Corporation.
“What a thrill,” said Paul Moist, “to see this kind of creative job action in progress.” And Moist was mirroring the language of thousands of Quebec City residents revulsed by the actions of SunMedia, including many taxi drivers who are helping to distribute the 40,000 free papers distributed daily Monday to Friday. “It’s hard to express the depth of feeling you have touched in members and the public alike.”
For his part, Claude Généreux, CUPE’s national secretary treasurer is on home turf and “proud of the 260 CUPE members who have taken up a huge challenge to defend free collective bargaining, their jobs and who are also making an important statement about freedom of the press in Canada.”
The Tuesday night caper followed on the heels of the first day of Quebec’s national convention attended by representatives and family members of the 260 workers, forced out because they refused to take SunMedia’s radical concessions to their collective agreement.
The 600 delegates to the convention roared their solidarity as Denis Bolduc, spokes person for the three groups of locked out workers explained how their employer had fabricated the conflict in the first place by hiring fourteen managers, and attempting to surreptitiously hire francophone reporters to work out of a Toronto office.
Delegates were reminded that the Journal de Québec had managed to operate for 40 years without one lost day of work due to union job action. Nor had the current CUPE members even taken a strike vote at the time of the lockout.
SunMedia Corportation has been trying to shut down MédiaMatin, but they lost their first attempted injunction and now the workers are waiting with anticipation for the court’s decision on the future of Quebec’s first free paper and a most creative job action.
CUPE’s national officers have reinforced that the workers have the continued support of all 560,000 members of Canada’s largest union.