Star union memo: Byline strike

Reporters, Columnists
and Photographers

No bylines in Wednesday’s paper

Send a message
to the company
— and to your anxious colleagues

At the core of the company’s layoff plans for the newsroom is the notion that underpaid, non-Star people can do as good a job at editing, design, page layout and many other functions as our industry-leading professionals who put out our paper every day. We couldn’t disagree more, and we’re sure you all agree.

For Wednesday’s newspaper – the printed paper, that is, not the website – we are asking all reporters and photographers to exercise their unfettered contractual right to withdraw their bylines. We are asking columnists — who are in a different and awkward position, because byline withdrawal from a column means no column, therefore a refusal to work — to write about why editing and page design and the good ol’ “legacy product” of the paper itself is still vital to our community, etc.

Some say byline withdrawals is a clumsy union tool, in that it doesn’t accomplish a whole lot in the practical world, as most readers and advertisers may not notice. We actually agree with part of that. But in this case, we need to do something to send a powerful message to the publisher and the board – which is meeting here today, and will be in town tomorrow for Torstar’s 4th quarter results – that we all stand by our targeted colleagues. We also need to send those colleagues — including our other friends targeted for layoff, in the library, the art department, among the editorial assistant ranks, even the student radio roomers who the company also plans to shed – that we value their work and stand with them.

So: For writers, photographers and other “content creators,” please add the note “no byline in newspaper Wednesday” on all files for tomorrow’s paper. If you have already filed something that is intended for use Wednesday or could be pulled up and used tomorrow, please send a note to your desk editors saying your want your byline/credit line withdrawn from that day’s paper. For columnists, please tell your editors you are swapping out any previously filed Wednesday column with a new one — or simply file as scheduled about our struggle. For deskers, please check with any and all reporters, columnists, photographers etc if you see anything that doesn’t include a byline request. A verbal or email request from the writer or creator is sufficient to remove their credit line from the print package.

We’ll be around throughout the day for your questions, to provide any needed guidance, to help discuss this with any individuals, and to help deskers check with all “journalists” and columnists to make sure our no-byline/pointed columns get through to tomorrow’s newspaper.

Thanks for all this. Meanwhile, work continues on many fronts to reverse as much of the company’s short-sighted agenda, while still respecting its need to remain a viable business.

— Dan Smith, editorial steward, on behalf of your newsroom Guild stewards

23 thoughts on “Star union memo: Byline strike”

  1. HEH. You could fire EVERY union worker in the country,and the only thing people would notice was an improvement in service.

  2. How are we going to read about how Harper CONS killed Hugo Chavez with robocalls and the end of the Wheat Board?

  3. Could it possibly be that the “RED STAR” is falling from favour? That the biased and slanted LPC propaganda that tries to masquerade as actual News Reporting is being relegated to the trash can of history? Pity that!!!

  4. “We are asking columnists… to write about why editing and page design and the good ol’ “legacy product” of the paper itself is still vital to our community…”

    LOL! Ooooo THAT will keep the readers spellbound!

  5. Ditch you crappy union, do a decent days work for once.

    Doesn’t matter anyway, the Red Star is jus a commie wannabe socialist rag that is soooooo pathetic.

    The faster the paper dies the better off everyone will be.

  6. Quick!
    Run another 200 whiny ‘Rob Ford Are Bad!’ stories, maybe that will pump up the circulation….. but maybe it’s that crybaby shit that got you into this mess in the first place…..

  7. More evidence that people go into journalism because they can’t handle the heavy math load in finger painting…..

  8. Who Cares!!!!!!!!!!

    Get over yourself!!!!!

    I would not read that Liberal Trash/ Rag /Gag if they gave it to me free

  9. Warm and worried thoughts to my friends and colleagues at the Star. You’re great people doing great work and you deserve better. I hope the board members will see the folly of this ill-considered and short-sighted decision.

  10. Stay strong!
    You can always get the philosophers union to stand in solidarity with you and join your strike.
    Stick it to the man!
    If this doesn’t work you can escalate your noble job action by enlisting the help of the powerful IABWOAJ, ( the International Association of Basket Weavers and Other Assorted Jackholes).

  11. You are trying to keep a Marxist operation afloat in a capitalist country.

    How’s that working our for you?

    It is so good to see worry and strife, fear and loathing spreading through the smug Marxist staff of the Red Star. You richly deserve every morsel of it.

    Enjoy, I know I am.

  12. “Good memo,” I thought. “Best of luck to them. Now, let’s read the comments and see what some reasonable people think about the proposed AGH NO OH MY GOD.”

  13. Union Editor salary, $85,000, non-Union Editor salary $40,000, you priced yourself out of a job Mate, plus you pushed a liberal slanted agenda. That’s two strikes and with the economy in tatters that makes three.

  14. Are you sure it wasn’t the Long Form Census that killed him? If so, what other dictators can we kill by reducing useless bureaucracy in Canada

  15. Oh DEAR!!!! You mean I won’t be able to read more about how the US Secretary of State, Dennis Rodman, is currently in historic diplomatic talks with that paragon of civilized society, North Korea?

  16. Mojo the whips industry survived and adapted, they just moved into the adult entertainment niche and capitalism triumphed.

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