A media union’s surprise intervention in the Ontario election is causing ripples.
Unifor Local 87-M — which represents journalists at the Star, Toronto Sun, Globe and Mail, Metro, Hamilton Spectator, Waterloo Regional Record, Ottawa Sun and numerous other dailies — is urging its 2,600 members not to vote for Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak.
“To be clear, we’re not endorsing anyone,” local president Paul Morse said in an interview Monday.
“We’re not saying, ‘Vote for (Andrea) Horwath’ or ‘Vote for (Kathleen) Wynne.’ It has nothing to do with the Liberals or the NDP,” he said.
“It’s not an ad campaign or anything like that. We’re saying, ‘Please consider not voting for him.’”
Morse said there is a “real danger” to unionized workers’ bargaining rights if Hudak is elected because of his policies toward organized labour.
Federal Conservative Employment Minister Jason Kenney took to Twitter to complain.
“Journalists’ union picks sides in ON election, but we’re told to believe there’s no such thing as liberal media bias,” he said, neglecting to mention that most Ontario newspapers — including three out Toronto’s four paid dailies, the Sun, Globe, and National Post — endorsed Hudak.
Treasury Board President Tony Clement agreed with his Tory cabinet colleague on Twitter.
“Journalists’ union enters Ontario election fray. In other news, commentators insist they’re not biased,” wrote Clement.
Still, many journalists tweeted their own concerns with their union’s stance.
“I don’t know a single journalist working at a Unifor shop (myself included) who had input on this,” tweeted the Globe’s Josh Wingrove.
Morse said he understands the backlash, but noted the guild’s executive made the decision as is permitted under the union’s bylaws.
“We’re not going to go out and do a plebiscite for everything that we do.”