Gazette employees reject contract offer

Editorial employees at the Montreal Gazette voted down the latest contract offer from the newspaper’s owners, Canwest Global Communications Corp.

Eighty per cent of editorial staffers and 73 per cent of employees in reader sales and service voted against the offer. Sixty-five per cent of employees in advertising accepted the proposal.

Montreal Newspaper Guild vice-president Irwin Block told the Canadian Press:

“We’re hoping to go back to the bargaining table and get an improved offer. A lockout or a strike would be extremely detrimental to the paper. It would affect the content, the readership and circulation. It will affect advertisers. We hope the company will take a positive second look at this proposal and try to iron out what separates us.”

Gazette publisher Alan Allnutt did not comment on reports the newspaper will lock out its employees. He said:

“We’re obviously very happy the advertising group accepted the offer. We’ll be moving quickly to finalize their new contract and we’ll figure out where we’ll go from here with the editorial (on Monday).”

About 180 employees at the Gazette have been without a contract since last July. In Oct., 2008 staff at the paper pulled their bylines as a work-to-rule campaign went into effect.