Bylines pulled at the Gazette

Staff at the Canwest-owned Montreal Gazette pulled their bylines Oct. 2, as a work-to-rule campaign went into effect, according to a Montreal Newspaper Guild (MNG) press release.

The guild said the byline strike came about when talks “bogged down” over the issue of jurisdiction. “Management is refusing to sign
a collective agreement that contains jurisdiction language
and will not talk about any other issues,” says Mona
Leroux, MNG president.

According to the guild, the Gazette wants to “eliminate union jurisdiction over work performed by its employees
and wants to merge job functions in some departments.”

The 181 employees have been without
a contract since June 1. 

In December 2001, when Canwest ran “national editorials” in many of its papers across the country, a group of Gazette journalists pulled their bylines in protest. They were ordered to bring the bylines back, but ultimately a ruling confirmed that reporting and art staff had the right to control their bylines and credit lines (except in the case of analyses, columns and opinion pieces).

According to MNG, guild jurisdiction over work performed by its members
has been a critical issue ever since Gazette management
laid off 45 employees in June and exported their
work to a CanWest call centre in Winnipeg.

The union is seeking a three-year deal with annual
wage increases of six per cent, an increase in care allowances from $700 to $900 a month as well as improvements
in vacation time, vision care and night shift differentials.