With the sale of the Times Colonist building to Merchant House Capital recently, dozens of workers are waiting to hear if they will have jobs in the coming months.
According to Jennifer Moreau, secretary treasurer of Unifor Local 2000, 19 staff at the press and 11 composing members (who put together ads for the newspaper) could potentially be affected by the sale of the building.
“This is very concerning and we’re keeping an eye on it.” she said, noting reporters are represented by a separate union. “Right now, we’re tenants in our own building, but we don’t know how long that’s going to last.”
Recently, Glacier Media Group (the Colonist’s parent company) sold the building to Merchant House Capital a real estate investment company. Workers were informed of the sale on May 4. Moreau said the building will be leased back to the newspaper and the press, but Glacier has remained tight lipped about how long that lease will run and future plans for the press.
Moreau said the sale represents a larger trend in the media industry.
“It reflects how these companies (Glacier Media) look at community news as a business and not a public service, not something that supports the public good,” she said. “These are good-paying jobs, they support families and to have those jobs at risk is always a concern.”
Calls have been made to Merchant House Capital and Glacier Media.
Merchant House Capital’s website shows renderings of a proposal for the site at 2621 Douglas St., which include multiple townhomes and parking, and the printing building being retained.
The company is also responsible for the renovation of the Dominion Hotel on Yates Street, and the Bayview Place and the Roundhouse development.