Laval, April 11, 2022 – The Teamsters Union deplores the disappearance of Publisac, as announced today by Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante. Indeed, the politician announced that the opt-in option would be unilaterally imposed on citizens who wish to receive the Publisac rather than allowing them to opt out as is currently the case.
“This is a sad day for our 140 members who print the Publisac, as well as for several hundred other jobs in Montreal and throughout Quebec,” said Michel Héroux, President of Teamsters Local Union 1999. “This decision was made against all logic because it does not ensure a fair transition for these workers.”
Clearly, Mayor Plante is washing her hands of the negative consequences of her decision since no measures have been announced to help those who could lose their jobs with the disappearance of the flyers.
“The word ‘just’ appears in the expression ‘just transition’ [to a sustainable society], which means that it must be done without unduly harming employees and their families,” adds the union leader. “I don’t doubt that the fight against climate change is an important concern for everyone, but it must not be done by making workers poorer.”
Moreover, the flyers that are distributed through Publisacs are essential for tens of thousands of families who save substantial amounts of money and, in so doing, allow them to make ends meet.
Publisacs are also an effective way to distribute neighbourhood weeklies. These newspapers are of vital importance to the economic, social and cultural life of the boroughs. Studies show that their disappearance will have a negative impact on democracy, as indicated by a Léger marketing survey. Moreover, the announcement of financial assistance from the City of Montreal is very vague and does not guarantee the survival of these media.
There are about 150 Publisac distributors under contract across Quebec, including about 40 in Montreal. They employ about 3500 people in the province and 600 in Montreal. They bag and distribute flyers and local newspapers. For some of these workers, it’s a way to make ends meet and even survive.
“I am absolutely convinced that a decision could have been made that would have balanced the environmental issues with the impact on the workers and the weeklies,” says Héroux. “There is always a way out for those who want to find one.”
The Teamsters Union represents the interests of 125,000 members in Canada. They are affiliated with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, which has 1.4 million members across North America.