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Friday, March 8, 2013

Union representing closed Vertis plant workers and Quad/Graphics appear in Ontario court

Yesterday (Thursday) lawyers representing protesting ex-workers of the closed Vertis printing plant in Fort Erie, Ontario (who are members of CEP, the Communications, Energy and Paperworks Union of Canada) and Quad/Graphics appeared in the Superior Court in St. Catharines, Ontario, to resolve issues arising from the workers’ continual picket line outside the closed plant.

The workers are protesting their treatment in January when their jobs were terminated without severance pay.  Quad/Graphics, who owns such assets inside the closed plant as equipment, paper, and ink, and is in the process of having these assets relocated, had filed a motion for an injunction, claiming the workers have no right to form a "blockade" preventing trucks going in and out of the plant, since their dispute is with Vertis not Quad/Graphics. 

But since the U.S. parent company of Vertis filed for U.S. bankruptcy protection last year and Vertis has told the ex-workers they have no money, the ex-workers are afraid these assets are their only potential source of recompense.  They don't want to see them removed until they are paid what they claim is legally owed to them, an amount estimated at around $2.7 million.

Justice Robert Nightingale postponed the hearing until Monday 11 March 2013 to give the union time to prepare its case. 
Meanwhile, lawyers for the two sides have agreed to try to come up with a mutually acceptable “picket protocol” that will include rules for how long the the protesters can stop a vehicle.

More background on this story is available at: