|March 26, 2006
Boycott called for Ed-Web Printers
|Edmonton or Calgary Colour Press in Calgary. Both were part of a group of companies that included Ed-Web printers based in
Edmonton. Of the three companies, Ed-Web was a unionized shop that had 15 press room and 5 bindery employees, members of
Communication, Energy, Paperworkers Workers Union (CEP) Local 255-G, a bargaining unit that’s been in place for over 30 years.
Ed-Web just purchased a new printing press; however, the press was moved to the non-union Central Web operation. In doing so,
Ed-Web unionized were all advised that they were laid-off, on Alberta Family Day no less, and were issued “pink-slips” the next
Ed-Web is best known for printing the popular Trader publications and the various renters' guides. The work done by union members
at Ed-Web has now been transferred to a new press at the non-union Central Web plant.
"It's bad enough that they've fired all the employees and handed their jobs to non-union workers," says Gil McGowan, president of
Alberta's largest union organization, the Alberta Federation of Labour, “but to do it on Family Day, when most of the employees were at
home enjoying time with their families, is simply reprehensible."
McGowan says the owners of Ed-Web have miscalculated if they thought they could get away with the firing because of the relatively
small number of employees involved.
"This may be a small group of workers, but the basic principles involved are huge," says McGowan. "We may not have the best labour
laws in the country, but even here in Alberta it is illegal for employers to close down a union shop and open up across the street with
a new, non-union work force. That's exactly what's happened here - and we simply won't allow them to get away with it."
"This was a huge shock to all of us," says local union president Ray Wade. "These were decent, family-sustaining jobs. The union
has worked with the company to make this a profitable operation for more than 30 years. This clearly isn't about economics - it's
about busting the union." Wade says the firings are particularly difficult because several of the affected workers have young families.
"One of our guys was just getting back on his feet after losing his home in the St. Albert (a City that sits at the edge of N.W. Edmonton)
condo fire in December. He's got a wife and a baby. This is just devastating for them," says Wade.
The AFL and CEP will be challenging these layoffs and transfer of work before the Alberta Labour Relations Board, and, if necessary,
the courts. Both the AFL and CEP feel the move was simply a tactic to bust the union, however, the Company states it was an
“innocent business decision” only.
McGowan says the Ed-Web case is significant because it strikes at the heart of the right that workers have to join union and bargain
"The Supreme Court has ruled that Canadians have a constitutional right to belong to unions. But that's an empty right if employers
can simply fire union members at will and replace them with non-union workers. That's why the broader labour movement is taking a
big interest in this case - the Ed-Web worker's fight is our fight."
In the interim, the AFL encourages unions and union members to direct any tabloid, web printing or other printing business to Alberta’
s two remaining unionized web presses: Quebecor World Edmonton (780-452-0720) or the Red Deer Advocate (call Richard Smalley
Source: AFL / cawcouncil4000.com