Ottawa Citizen, Sun staff vote to approve contract, avert lockout

Postmedia

Unionized staff at the Ottawa Citizen and Ottawa Sun have voted in favour of the latest contract offer from Postmedia Inc., averting a potential lockout.

The Ottawa Newspaper Guild says 32 members voted for the offer while 24 voted against, despite a recommendation from its bargaining committee to reject the offer.

The Guild said in a Facebook post that members were clearly divided over whether to accept the offer or continue to fight for a better deal against an “increasingly threatening employer.”

Postmedia had said it would lock out union employees if they voted against the deal, and would consider permanent job cuts in the event of a labour disruption.

Staff at the two newspapers have been without a contract for 34 months as negotiations on cuts to benefits and other issues dragged on.

Lois Kirkup, vice-president of the Ottawa Newspaper Guild, had said the company was “gutting” benefits, while Postmedia said it had made its best offer given the economic challenges of the industry.