Union Efforts Pick Up at Quebecor
Monday, December 08, 2003
MEMPHIS, Tenn., Dec. 5 -- (Press Release from Graphic Communications International Union) -- Quebecor Inc. and Quebecor World, Inc. workers and labor leaders from 12 countries launched a campaign here today seeking to win a global agreement on labor standards from the company. Called the Justice@Quebecor campaign, the workers and labor leaders vowed to escalate pressure on the company until the Montreal-based Quebecor agrees to respect its employees' rights. Quebecor World, the world's largest commercial printer with facilities in 17 countries, has repeatedly violated the rights of its employees -- especially when workers have tried to form a union. The company has previously ignored requests from international labor leaders to discuss a global agreement. The campaign launch was held under the auspices of the Graphic Communications International Union (GCIU), which represents 80,000 workers, including 7,600 Quebecor World and Quebecor Inc. employees, in the United States and Canada; the AFL-CIO, the national labor federation in the United States representing 13 million workers; and Union Network International (UNI), a global trade union federation representing 15 million workers worldwide, including thousands of Quebecor employees. "Quebecor workers from around the world are united around a single goal," stated George Tedeschi, GCIU International President. "We want fair and just labor standards at every single Quebecor facility. We will not stop until there is Justice@Quebecor." As part of the campaign, the GCIU is helping Quebecor World workers in Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky, Nevada, and California win a voice at work. The company has a pattern of harassing, intimidating, and even unlawfully firing workers for organizing to improve their jobs. "Quebecor has used anti-worker tactics to stop workers from having a voice on the job," said Stewart Acuff, Organizing Director of the AFL-CIO. "Despite the obstacles put up by the company, Quebecor workers across the country -- and throughout the world -- are standing up for their rights and the AFL-CIO is backing them 100 percent." At the launch, Quebecor World workers from six non-union plants spoke out on the violations of rights that occur in Quebecor World facilities. "My co-workers and I have worked hard to make Quebecor World one of the most successful companies in the printing industry," said Rick Woods who is a 28-year employee at Quebecor World's non-union, Versailles, Ky. printing plant. "It's time that our work be rewarded. We deserve a fair process, free of management intimidation, to decide about unionization." In a recent survey of more than 1,000 Quebecor World workers who work in non-union facilities in the United States, 99 percent of respondents said that they want a voice at work. Ninety-nine percent also said they want a fair process for forming a union. "Having a fair process to form a union is a fundamental human right," said Duncan Brown, GCIU International Vice President. "It is time for Quebecor's management to sit down and negotiate a global agreement on labor standards." "On behalf of Canadian working families, I stand in solidarity with Quebecor workers around the world who are trying to win a voice at work and justice on the job," Ken Georgetti, president of the Canadian Labour Congress, said in a statement released today. "Canadian labor wholeheartedly supports this unprecedented campaign to ensure that Quebecor abides by the highest labor standards wherever it does business." A global agreement on labor standards would ensure that the company act in accordance with International Labor Organization's conventions, including the right to form unions and engage in collective bargaining. Previous UNI- sponsored global agreements have guaranteed workers the right to form unions without company harassment and intimidation. "Quebecor World's abuses are not confined to one country," stated Philip Bowyer, Deputy General Secretary of UNI. "This campaign is about workers responding to corporate globalization and demanding that justice be global as well."