It has been nearly three years since the Montreal Newspaper Guild, the union representing Gazette newspaper employees, have been without a contract. Union members in the editorial and reader sales and services departments voted overwhelmingly against a management offer in January 2009. At the time the paper was owned by CanWest Global.
There was a strike mandate in the books, but Gazette staffers were wise not to go that route. All they had to do was look at what happened with Le Journal de Montréal. Journalists voted to strike and Quebecor Media CEO Pierre-Karl Péladeau called their bluff and locked them all out. He proceeded to operate the paper by having editors do the writing along with writers from the QMI Agency he created just a few months before the lockout. When the dust finally settled two years later, 61 people got to keep their jobs, out of 253 who had been locked out. The rest got severance packages.
I do not know what deal is on the table, but The Gazette's new owners, Postmedia, headed by Paul Godfrey (pictured), will make them an offer this Sunday, which will be voted upon. I bet it is accepted. For the editorial team at The Gazette has no taste to collect strike pay.