Manitoba

Striking Winnipeg Free Press workers to consider potential deal

Workers at the Winnipeg Free Press who have been walking the picket line for two weeks will vote on a new offer from the company on Tuesday.

Workers at the Winnipeg Free Press who have been walking the picket line for two weeks will vote on a new offer from the company on Tuesday.

After nine hours of negotiating on Sunday, the newspaper made what it is calling its final offer to the employees.

Mary Agnes Welch, spokeswoman for the Communication, Energy and Paperworkers Union, says the union is not recommending the offer, but felt it was up to the members to have their say.

"I think what they're saying is that they've gone as far as they can go with the company at the bargaining table without taking it back to the members so that the members can have their say," she said.

"I think unless all the workers of the Free Press say, 'This latest deal is terrible, we won't accept it,' we figure the company won't move much more at the bargaining table."

Some of the key sticking points are wages and the amount of money Free Press carriers are given to cover the cost of using their own vehicles, Welch said.

"We wanted a better gas-mileage formula for our carriers, most of whom make, you know, $12,000, $13,000 a year. We wanted a few really pretty modest improvements to language, you know, better vision care, a few tweaks to seniority rights, and a wage increase, a decent one," she said.

The striking workers will vote on the offer on Tuesday. 

In the meantime, pickets will remain up at the Free Press building on Mountain Avenue and at the flyer depot on Notre Dame Avenue.

About 1,000 members of the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union, which represents editorial, advertising, circulation and press staff, as well as newspaper carriers, launched the strike at noon on Oct. 13. The workers have been without a contract since Oct. 1.

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