It was announced in a letter to readers on September 18, 2019 that the Prince George Citizen would cease as a daily paid subscription newspaper and change to a free weekly newspaper while still providing an online edition of the paper. The Company gave the Union Section 54 notice on Tuesday, September 17, 2019 regarding this announcement and also told staff the same afternoon.
In meetings with the Company we were told that they would be closing down the Press Hall and as a result the paper would be printed at Kodiak Press in Vancouver and then shipped up to Prince George once per week like it does now with it’s free total market coverage product 97/16. We were informed that that last daily newspaper will be Saturday, September 28 and that the first new weekly product will launch Thursday, October 3. They envision the new product being fairly thick with local news stories that will be unique from the website. With the closure of the Press, 5 journeymen pressmen will be losing their jobs along with 5 members of the Mailroom. The members will be paid for the balance of the 60 day notice period before severance is paid. We continue negotiations under Section 54 of the BC Labour Relations Code to work on an adjustment plan to aid in members’ transition to the next stage of their lives.
In addition to the job losses in the Press Hall, with the change to a weekly from a daily, the Company requires some adjustments to office staff as well. They announced they will need two members to leave from the Circulation Department, one Photographer and up to one reporter from Editorial. Out of 26 members currently, only 12 will be left at the Citizen after the severances are paid.
As mentioned earlier, we continue negotiations under Section 54 and will be discussing with the Company our ideas on how to lessen the impact on folks leaving the Company. We will update you as we get more information. As mentioned in our membership meetings, it is very tough when you face losing your job, that is why we have an Employee Family Assistance Program (EFAP) that we encourage members to use if they feel they need to. It is an excellent resource, completely confidential and can be very helpful during stressful times such as these. Information about how to access the EFAP program was given to you at the meetings, but if you require assistance, please contact the Union Office at 604-408-0746 for help.