Conrad Black out to break union, says AFL

The antics of the Calgary Herald this past weekend demonstrate that Southam newspaper magnate Conrad Black is not interested in finding a mutually-acceptable agreement, but out to bust the newly-certified unions, says the president of the Alberta Federation of Labour.

"From the beginning, Conrad Black has made it clear he has no intention of accepting the democratic decision of his workers," says Audrey Cormack. "In classic southern-U.S. style, he is out to bust the union rather than negotiate a fair deal."

Cormack points to the lock-out of Herald employees this past Sunday as evidence that the Southam paper has no intentions of bargaining fairly. The workers were sent home two days before they were in a legal strike position. Southam has already begun using replacement workers.

"Conrad Black is not in the habit of giving his workers two days off with pay," observes Cormack. "Sending his workers home had one goal and one goal only. To clear the plant out so he can start bringing in replacement workers."

"In any other province, this act of provocation would have been met with severe penalties from the Labour Relations Board," adds Cormack. Cormack criticized the Alberta Labour Relations Board for its poor decision on the legality of the lock-out. "The Board decision flies in the face of common sense."

The Alberta Federation of Labour is throwing its support behind the striking workers, members of the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union and the Graphic Communications International Union. These unions were recently certified and are attempting to negotiate their first agreement.

"This is a fight about the fundamental democratic right to join a union. These workers followed the rules and decided they wanted union representation. Southam has an obligation to respect that decision," Cormack concludes.

For further information, contact:

Audrey M. Cormack, President @ 499-6530(cell)/483-3021(wk)/428-9367(hm)

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