Internal memo: Star union to employees

Jan. 10, 2013 
Down to business 
Tentative agreement 
on disputes process 
clears decks for main issues 
First day of full talks leaves focus 
on core concerns 

After two days of preliminary meetings earlier this week, including a detailed financial briefing from the publisher and other senior Toronto Star executives, your bargaining committee has moved into formal negotiations on a new contract with the company. 

In meetings at a downtown hotel that began yesterday (Wed. Jan. 9), your committee tentatively agreed to the creation of a process known as Alternative Disputes Resolution. 

The idea is to separate from the bargaining table at least six ongoing, nagging issues that don’t involve contract changes. These issues — such as vacation tracking and scheduling, alternative medical treatments, hours of work in advertising, freelance in the paper and other issues — would be worked on with the company in the weeks and months following any ratification of a new contract. 

Yesterday we also tabled our core issues that we expect to be negotiated as bargaining proceeds. These include a wage increase, a base-year pension upgrade, a new pension proposal for more recent hires, new language to accommodate emergency family leaves and a contract language change to ensure all deputy department editors in Editorial are designated Deputy Editor, not Team Editor as 3 of the 8 deputies are now designated. 
The company has made no proposals of its own and will not be proposing any. 

Talks are so far scheduled to continue today (Thurs. Jan. 10) and for two days next week. We’ll of course keep you up to date, but do not expect blow-by-blow accounts daily or on every item. Bargaining is more complicated than that. 

–– Stuart Laidlaw, unit chair, and your bargaining committee.