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Unifor will stand for Sun Media and Postmedia workers

TORONTO, Oct. 6, 2014 /CNW/ - Unifor, which represents workers across Canada at both companies, will be closely monitoring the planned purchase of Sun Media by Postmedia as the process unfolds in the coming months.

"This is a very difficult time for our members, and Unifor will be there for them to protect their rights and their ability to do their jobs effectively, as well as the future viability of this important industry" said Unifor Media Director Howard Law.

Unifor Media Council Chair Randy Kitt said the media industry in Canada, including print, broadcast and digital, is vital to ensuring a well-informed public.

"Unifor will work to ensure Canadians have a diversity of media voices available to them," Kitt said.

Postmedia announced plans this morning to buy the Sun Media chain of newspapers for $315 million, including $140 million in new debt. Postmedia President Paul Godfrey has said there are no plans to close any newspapers as a result of this sale.

"We look forward to working positively with PostMedia on behalf of our union members at 13 daily newspapers across Ontario," said Paul Morse, president of Unifor Local 87-M, which represents journalists, advertising, administrative and graphics staff at several Sun Media papers.

"We will keep a close eye on the Competition Bureau process and hold Mr. Godfrey to his promise to operate Sun Media major market dailies side by side with existing Postmedia properties."

In Vancouver, where Unifor Local 2000-M represents journalists at the Postmedia newspapers the Vancouver Sun and the Vancouver Province, there was concern about the sale.

"It is a sad day when scores of Canadian newspapers fall into the hands of U.S.-based hedge funds," said Local 2000 Vice-President Gary Engler. "Our Postmedia members have experienced four years of cutbacks and centralization from a company effectively controlled by Golden Tree Asset Management and we expect this sale will lead to more of the same."

"Local 2000 will do what it can to protect our members' interests and to defend Canadian journalism."

Unifor is Canada's largest union in the private sector, representing more than 305,000 workers, including more than 12,000 in media. It was formed Labour Day weekend 2013 when the Canadian Auto Workers and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers union merged.