Moncton – The New Brunswick Federation of Labour (NBFL) is dismayed by the lay-offs of award-winning staff photographers at the daily Brunswick News newspapers in the province, all owned by Irving. The Communications Workers of America (CWA), the union representing the workers, confirmed that in all, six photographers lost their job.
Any announcement of lay-offs is extremely hard for any workers, their families, their co-workers who will need to take on extra workload and the communities. This announcement is no different and it has a particular resonance: these photographers had been at the newspapers for decades, they were well known in the community and appreciated by the readers. They always showed the outmost professionalism in any event they were covering and many of their photos won awards or were nominated for awards. Furthermore, it was one of the photographers who put themselves in harm’s way to capture the photo of the person who killed three RCMP officers last June. It was that picture that was used by the RCMP in the social media to identify and catch the killer.
Notwithstanding their service to their communities however, we ask ourselves how a newspaper can exist without professional photographers? Journalists are now being asked to take pictures with their Smartphone, thus adding an extra workload to their already tight schedule of filing their news stories. Furthermore, the quality of the newspaper will undoubtedly not be the same and the readers will pay the price.
A recent report by the CIBC shows that the job quality in Canada is at a 25 year low, meaning that more and more Canadians are working part-time and more are in low-wage jobs resulting in low economic growth in communities. Other research by the Canadian Labour Congress shows that while big corporations have been enjoying major tax cuts by both the provincial and federal government for decades, they have been sitting on $541 billion in their bank accounts while paying investors and CEO higher compensations. Our province is unfortunately not immune to this phenomenon.
The NBFL believes that all Canadians deserve good jobs-jobs that are meaningful, safe and sustainable, and that allow us to support a good quality of life for our families and ourselves. Workers have already paid too big a price; it’s time for big corporations to pay their fair share.
The New Brunswick Federation of Labour is New Brunswick’s largest central labour body representing 40,000 members of both public sector and private sector labour unions.