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Vol. 74/No. 41      November 1, 2010

On the Picket Line
Montreal newspaper workers
reject company offer

MONTREAL—Workers at the Journal de Montreal daily, locked out since January 2009, voted October 12 by 89 percent to reject the latest contract offered by Quebecor management.

“The offer didn’t make any sense,” said Pablo Durant, a photographer. “It would have meant the death of unions in Quebec and perhaps all of Canada.” The 253 workers are members of the STIJM (union of news workers at the Journal de Montreal).

Under the terms of the proposed contract, 201 of the workers would have been permanently laid off. Vacations would have been slashed and the workweek extended from four to five days for the same wage.

The company offered $20 million in termination pay to 130 of the workers not rehired if they signed a clause agreeing to close down the online newspaper that the workers have been running.

“I have never been so proud of us because we are standing up” to the company, journalist Jessica Nadeau told the union assembly.

—John Steele

California nurses picket
against cuts in health care

OAKLAND, California—“You can see we are out in force,” said Susan Segal, one of over 700 nurses at Children’s Hospital here who participated in a three-day strike against cuts in health-care benefits. “Management is saying we have to take these cuts because other companies are doing it,” Segal told the Militant, “but someone has to draw the line, and who better than hospital workers?”

Joining the nurses on the line were clerks, housekeepers, and other hospital workers, members of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). “The health-care benefits of all the workers at the hospital will be affected by how this fight turns out,” said SEIU representative Davere Godfrey. The union contract expired in July.

—Betsey Stone

Airline workers to vote
on union representation

MINNEAPOLIS—More than 300 airline workers packed a meeting hall here October 17 to support voting “yes” for the International Association of Machinists in union elections now under way at Delta Air Lines.

About 30,000 baggage handlers, customer service and reservation agents, and stock clerks, as well as 20,000 flight attendants are voting. Delta, a nonunion company, merged with Northwest Airlines in 2008. “I don’t want to find out what it’s like to work nonunion,” said Ray Pierre, a Delta baggage handler. “This is a critical vote for us.”

—Frank Forrestal
Related articles:
Widespread protests startle French gov’t
Locked-out Iowa workers fight union busting at mill
San Francisco hotel workers picket Hilton  
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