Free Press publisher says union statements false

On the seventh day of an employee strike at the Winnipeg Free Press, the paper’s publisher Bob Cox published a message to readers on In his message, Cox said the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union that represents the striking workers has spread “misleading and outright false information.”

Cox wrote:

“We have been reluctant to discuss negotiations because we want the collective bargaining process to work. While we are a newspaper, we did not feel it appropriate to negotiate through the media…There are few items left to deal with. The Free Press negotiator has indicated a willingness to deal with them. Yet the union negotiating committee is not doing so. The annual increases offered by the Free Press are more than fair and reasonable given the general economic downturn we all face and the crisis in the newspaper industry in particular.”

He then outlines a chronological summary of the major events of the strike since October 14.

In a Canadian Press report, strike spokesperson Mary Agnes Welch said she said she was “surprised by the negative tone of the statement” and noted that “Cox failed to point out what he considered to be
inaccuracies in the fact sheets.” She added:

“I’ve been pretty careful to
keep it friendly because we all have to go back to work, frankly, after
all of this is over,” Welsh said late Sunday. For (Cox) to have such harsh words, it really polarized people on my picket shift today.”

About 1000 Free Press employees have been on strike since October 13. A group of staffers launched a website and are still reporting and publishing the news.