Part of the national post logo with a red picket sign with a fist in the air
Illustration: iStock

The inside story of how five racialized reporters’ anger over a Rex Murphy column led to the unionization of Canada’s most conservative national daily newspaper

Part of the national post logo with a red picket sign with a fist in the air
Illustration: iStock

Editors’ Note: The Review of Journalism spoke with more than a dozen past and present National Post and Financial Post journalists for this story. Most asked for anonymity. They feared losing their jobs or hurting their chances for new employment. Out of caution, we refer to these sources throughout the story as “staffer,” “journalist,” or “reporter,” regardless of their current employment status. We thank these journalists for speaking with the Review and for giving us access to documents that offer insight into the story. Rex Murphy did not respond to multiple requests for comment. After multiple emails to senior Postmedia and National Post staff, the vice president of communications for Postmedia, Phyllise Gelfand, said the company had no comment.

June 1, 2020

Vanmala Subramaniam was furious. It was early evening, and the Financial Post’s cannabis reporter was working from home. She’d spent the day on a story about pot companies jockeying for a position in the Canadian market. It had been a difficult week. It was the fourth month of the pandemic—and George Floyd had been killed seven days prior. On Twitter, Subramaniam came across a column written by Rex Murphy, her acerbic colleague, titled “Canada Is Not a Racist Country, Despite What the Liberals Say.” In the week before, protests had erupted across the United States, with thousands marching in dozens of cities. Subramaniam clicked through to read the article. “What’s going on in the U.S. right now may have begun, for some, as a protest in support of basic human rights. But however it began, it has now morphed into scenes of pure violence, random attacks, arson and something close to actual anarchy,” wrote Murphy. “Most Canadians, the vast majority in fact, are horrified by racism and would never participate in it. We are in fact not a racist country, though to say so may shock some. Do we not have welcoming immigration policies? Are our largest cities not a great montage of people from every corner of the world, of every colour and creed? Do we not, both in private and public, celebrate Canada’s multicultural nature?”

“To any fair mind,” wrote Murphy, “Canada is a mature, welcoming, open-minded and generous country.” Subramaniam was angry. “Oh my God, I’ve had enough,” she recalls saying. Subramaniam had been a reporter in Canada for a decade. At 19, she left Malaysia to study at the University of Toronto’s Trinity College, a small, elite, and “very white,” institution that faced its own racial justice reckoning in the wake of Floyd’s death. However, at the time she studied there, racism wasn’t on her radar. Things became clearer in her late twenties. After graduation, she worked as an associate producer for CBC for six years, doing stints with current affairs and investigative shows like The Fifth Estate. In 2016, she left the public broadcaster, subsequently landing gigs with Business News NetworkVice, and the Financial Post, covering cannabis, housing, and Bay Street. Subramaniam didn’t experience the in-your-face racism to which Murphy pleaded innocent on behalf of all Canadians in his column—but rather the subtle, systemic racism that exists in Canada. “It’s hard to explain, but you just feel and know that [it’s there],” she says. “You’re good or you’re better than someone next to you, who is usually white, and it’s just harder for you to be taken as seriously.” Subramaniam wanted to vent about the column on Twitter but thought better of it. Instead, she emailed Rob Roberts, the National Post’s editor-in-chief. She told Roberts the column wasn’t just offensive, but also factually incorrect—that systemic racism was a well-proven reality of Canadian life. Roberts got back to her quickly, asking if she’d write a counterpoint column, which would run the next day. He told her to “write what you just told me,” she says. “[Write] why you think it’s problematic.”

June 2, 2020

The Post published that column online with the headline: “Before You Declare Canada Is Not a Racist Country, Do Your Homework.” Subramaniam wrote, “It is perhaps too obvious to state that someone who has absolutely no lived experience of racism, discrimination, bigotry, who has never been anything other than accepted…should not be weighing in on the subject of racism.” She continued, “They most certainly should not be allowed to declare that racism is over nor be given a national platform to do so.”

“To Rex Murphy, and all of you who share his deeply ignorant sentiments on race or have the immediate instinct to say, ‘Canada’s not that bad!’, I say, spend a day in an Ontario criminal court to really understand how systemic racism can devastate lives, families and completely dismantle communities of colour,” she wrote.

Over the next five months, what began as a debate between a columnist and a beat reporter at the National Post took on new life, pitting a group of frustrated journalists against their bosses. What first started as a fight about editorial standards—about the difference between a fact and a fair interpretation—soon morphed into a fight about much more: wages, editorial direction, and opportunities for racialized staff.

June 2 to 4, 2020

In the days that followed the publication of Murphy’s column, four of his colleagues, all racialized women, vented to one another on Discord. They felt his column was lazy and that it dehumanized Black and Indigenous people. They also felt publishing the column signaled that their perspectives and lived experience had little value in the newsroom. One journalist suggested they write their own letter to Roberts, outlining why the column was offensive and how the paper could begin to rectify things. The others agreed and they got to work, contributing to a Google Doc from their homes in the Greater Toronto Area. It was cathartic, one says. In cowriting the letter, they gave voice to the frustration others were feeling.

However, as soon as they’d finished, fear set in. They wondered whether they’d be able to keep their jobs if the letter arrived in their editor-in-chief’s inbox, authored by just the four of them. Seeking protection, the group pulled together a list of Post staff from across the company’s offices in Toronto, Calgary, and Ottawa, and sent Twitter DMs, Signal messages, and emails, asking if others would add their names. One by one, 27 of their colleagues said yes—about half of the Post’s editorial staff.

June 4, 2020

At 10:08 a.m., an email landed in Rob Roberts’ inbox. Its signatories were entry-level web producers, seasoned reporters, graphic designers, and a couple of editors. They were white and racialized staff alike. The group demanded the paper publish an editor’s letter, clarifying the Post’s stance on Murphy’s column. They also asked Roberts to host a newsroom town hall and to take “decisive action” to ensure the integrity of future op-eds: “We recognize the National Post’s creed is to enlighten readers with varying, sometimes even controversial opinions. However, the opinions should be backed up with facts, data, lived experiences or qualifications.”

June 4 to 8, 2020

On Thursday at 2:42 p.m., Roberts responded to the letter, striking a conciliatory tone. “It’s been a tough week for us Posties, in a tough year,” he wrote. “I believe in a newsroom where we can talk out these issues; I appreciate your coming to me with this. Let’s have that deeper conversation about it.” He thanked his staff for the note and asked for their patience in giving him a few days to reflect and respond. The next day, thousands of protestors funneled into Toronto’s downtown core, demanding justice for Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Regis Korchinski-Paquet. The following Monday afternoon, Roberts sent an email to his staff. “Let me start with the obvious,” he wrote. “We need a more robust quality control process, so we can ensure all the commentary we publish is carefully and rigorously edited. Your note alluded to our commitment to freedom of expression, to contrary thinking. We have indeed long boasted of it. We need to examine whether we are meeting that expectation in the voices we present.”

He said he assumed nothing but good will from the group who emailed him, and suggested that, as a first step, he would schedule video conversations with staff to get the ball rolling. That response was unsatisfactory to several reporters. In quick succession, Roberts received seven reply-all responses, doubling down on their initial demand for a town hall. That same day, the Canadian Association of Black Journalists and Canadian Journalists of Colour released a joint statement. They said newsroom proclamations decrying anti-Black racism were good, but not enough. They expressed concern about the “dismal number” of Black managers at all levels of the industry and the industry’s persistent refusal to collect race-based information on its own ranks. “Now is the time for accountability and frank discussions,” they said. The next morning, one more staffer emailed her boss, calling for a town hall: “Let’s bring this discussion into the light.” Roberts agreed. The town hall was scheduled for the next day.

June 10, 2020, 1 p.m.

“We definitely understand the personal toll these kinds of discussions can take, especially because our newsroom has a long way to go to be as diverse as it should be,” said Roberts, opening the meeting. He thanked staff for their courage in emailing him with their concerns. “Let me start by acknowledging that this is on me,” he said to the 50-odd staffers in attendance. “There are some specific circumstances that led us here, but if any particular piece isn’t properly vetted, that’s because the systems aren’t in place to make sure they are—and that’s on me.” Rob Roberts said the Post has been described as a place that is “provocative and fearless and contrary,” that they’re going to continue to run “unpopular opinions—things that you or I may not agree with,” but that they “can and must do better.” He said that Matt Gurney, then Comment section editor, would provide details about plans to address staff concerns, including steps the Post would take to increase staff diversity. Then, he opened the floor. Subramaniam went first, asking her boss to describe the specific circumstances that led to publishing Murphy’s column.

In the days following the publishing of her op-ed, Subramaniam faced online attacks, including a Rebel News video hosted by Ezra Levant. In the video, Levant spends nearly 15 minutes mocking Subramaniam and suggesting that as a brown woman, she has no authority to speak about anti-Black racism. In response to Subramaniam, Gurney said there was a “miscommunication” that happened in the publishing of Murphy’s column. He said running the piece on the front page was “in discussion.” That would have made editing it Roberts’ responsibility. But Roberts passed it over—it would instead run in the Comment section, leaving its editing to Gurney. Nobody gave it a proper “editorial review,” said Gurney. By the time he and Roberts realized the mistake, the column had already been published.

Over the next 90 minutes, staff pressed. They asked what Gurney and Roberts would have changed in Murphy’s column if they had the chance. If there was a breach in the process of editing the column, one asked, why has it taken a week to address it? Another asked whether any columnists have “arrangements” with Post senior executives, allowing their columns to run in the paper unedited. Gurney called the publishing of Murphy’s column a “fuck up.” He said that he believed it was possible to make the argument that Murphy was making, but it should have been better backed up by facts: “I don’t think a country that has an Indian Act can be declared in one sentence to be not a racist country.” Roberts admitted the process had been a learning experience for him but that he’d been too slow in addressing the column with readers. Yet he insisted the newsroom has ultimate control.

Workers who spoke with the Review had varied perspectives on whether the paper’s ideological position has changed in recent years. Tom Blackwell, a senior reporter with the National Post, says he doesn’t think the paper’s editorial direction has drifted much from its “small c” conservative orientation over the years. What’s different now, he says, is that racism has come to the fore, that people are more attuned to it. This has resulted, he adds, in some staffers “looking more closely at what some columnists were writing on about race.” Another reporter agreed with Blackwell, insisting that while the “cultural preoccupation” of the paper’s right-wing columnists has shifted—for a time it was Muslims, then climate change—the paper has been consistently conservative over the years, and there hasn’t been a noticeable right-wing shift amongst the paper’s columnists. Three others disagreed. They believe the Post has moved further right in recent years, under new leadership and in response to an increasingly polarized media climate in Canada. One staffer recalls the mood at the paper prior to the election of Donald Trump: There was an institutional assumption, he says, that Trump was a “lunatic” and that it “would be a massive disaster for the United States and the world if he won.” Yet post-election, the world changed and things inside the Post changed too, he says. The election emboldened the far right, creating a new base looking for media. “And I think what happened in the end was the Post picked a side and they picked the loonies,” he says.

“And I think what happened in the end was the Post picked a side and they picked the loonies”

This perceived shift coincided with changes among the top brass at the Post. In 2019, longtime conservative newspaperman Paul Godfrey stepped down as CEO. He was succeeded by Andrew MacLeod, a former BlackBerry executive who had been serving in the role of COO. Shortly thereafter, the top editorial job at the paper changed hands, too. Anne Marie Owens left, landing at the Toronto Star as editor-in-chief. Her role was filled by Rob Roberts, who brought more than a decade of experience of work at the Post. In addition, Kevin Libin, formerly one of the paper’s columnists, took over the role of executive editor of politics at Postmedia, overseeing political coverage across the company’s newspapers. In 2019, 15 National Post employees told Canadaland that they understood Libin’s new mandate to be making Postmedia’s newspapers “more ‘reliably’ conservative.” MacLeod hasn’t been shy about the Post’s political orientation. In a 2019 interview with the Financial Post, he described the rationale behind the launch of Postmedia Politics: “We looked at the media landscape in Canada and we found there was a shortage of viewpoints that come from a pro-innovation, pro-free-market, smaller-tax, smaller-government perspective.” He said that the launch of Postmedia Politics was a business decision—that it was about seeking to fill a spot in the marketplace where there was a vacuum. One reporter who spoke with the Review points to the success of Fox News, the right-wing conservative American broadcaster, saying he believes MacLeod is interested in gaining a similar audience—of making the Post the “paper of choice” for Canadian members of the “trucker convoy.”

Back in the town hall, staff moved beyond their frustration about Murphy’s column to structural issues at the Post. One pressed his bosses on the lack of racial diversity at the paper: “In 2020, we are far whiter at our senior level than any Conservative Party would allow itself to be.” Another said the Post has an “age problem” in the Comment section. One reporter said she thought the Post should hire more racialized columnists and bring more BIPOC staff into senior leadership. Another asked about the potential to create a mentorship program. Another pushed for antiracism training for the Post’s staff. On and on the suggestions came. By the end of the town hall, Roberts said he wanted to slow down the editorial process, adding more “diverse eyes” on sensitive stories. He said management would think about adding an editor’s note to Murphy’s column online, about ways to have a more “representative” staff and senior editing team, and about hosting diversity training. “People are more mixed about working at the Post than they used to [be] and it’s possible that since I’ve gotten here it’s become worse,” he said. “There’s obviously some big picture morale issues that we need to address.” Certainly, the corporate environment at the National Post has evolved. However, everyone who spoke with the Review was also clear that they like working for the Post. They like the people. They also like the reporting opportunities—the chance to cover stories that might not find a home elsewhere. This is the result, says one reporter, of the Post’s orientation toward “covering [issues] that other [papers] aren’t covering.”

Despite these high points, however, most reporters also said they didn’t like their paper’s politics or pay. About a month before Murphy’s column was published, MacLeod emailed staff, telling them that anyone making $60,000 or more would be getting a wage cut because of a COVID-related drop in ad sales. Though the pandemic had hurt newsroom budgets sector-wide, it was far from the first time in the past half-decade that staff had been disappointed by management decisions over pay. Longtime staff spoke about the workplace they first joined—an institution with a deep roster of reporters on sports, arts, and city news. They spoke of a shuttle that used to bring them from the subway to workplace headquarters and back. The last two decades have been unkind to most legacy media institutions, and despite its more recent launch, the National Post has not been an exception. Workers who joined the paper in the 2000s or 2010s say they were happy with their pay—that it was comparable to other outlets—but that they had seen the paper’s entry-level wages drop for years. By 2020, web editors, the lowest-paid editorial staff, earned $40,000—far less than reporters in similar roles in unionized environments at other major Canadian dailies. At the Post, the spread in pay between people working the same job was also big. In 2020, reporters earned between $50,000 and $91,000—a gap that frustrated some staff on the lower end.

In addition, even for long-time workers, pay had largely been stagnant. By 2021, most editorial staff had gone without a pay raise for the past five years, according to Unifor, and were thus losing money each year due to inflation. Raises were only handed over to staff who landed other jobs and threatened to leave the company, according to two reporters. Staff who spoke to the Review said they had never seen outright racial discrimination at the Post. However, several noted that workers of colour more commonly occupied mid- and entry-level roles, bearing more of the brunt of lower entry-level salaries. “The higher up [you go], the more white people you’d see,” says one reporter. Workers had fought their bosses on these issues before. In 2017, as a wave of digital media unionization swept across North America, they tried to unionize with CWA Canada. It was a hard-fought campaign, and the vote was very close. After ballots were counted, CWA petitioned the Ontario Labour Relations Board, arguing that Postmedia had only secured the most ballots by inflating the voting list. But on the matter of two crucial votes, the labour board didn’t agree. The union drive lost by one vote.

Raises were only handed over to staff who landed other jobs and threatened to leave the company

Mid-late June 2020

A week after the town hall, Roberts took steps to remedy staff concerns. The Post committed to launching a new mentorship program, broadening the pool of contributors, engaging community groups in editorial board meetings, and ensuring that senior editors sign off on pieces dealing with sensitive topics. The paper also published an editor’s note on Murphy’s column: “Upon review, it was determined that there was a failure in the normal editing oversight that columns should be subjected to. This issue has been identified and policies changed to prevent a repeat. We apologize for the failure.” Blackwell says he thought it was a “fairly reasonable response to the concerns that had been raised.” His perspective, however, wasn’t shared by all of his colleagues. Several staff felt that while the steps taken were positive, they didn’t relate at all to their central demand. Staff wanted their leaders to say they’d no longer allow columnists to deny the reality of systemic racism. “I kind of remember thinking that they were all good—like they weren’t bad in and of themselves—but they didn’t really have much to do with why people were upset in the first place,” said another reporter. Over the following days, the paper’s columnists amplified tensions. Six days after the town hall, Murphy wrote another column—this time about property damage that occurred during the Black Lives Matter protests—which included a brief reiteration of his previous comments. “Finally, as there seems to be a tad of curiosity on this point, I stand by the column,” he wrote. “I will not apologize for it; nor apologize for any part of it, word, comma or space between words. I will even stand for the semicolons.”

Days later, fellow columnist Conrad Black wrote a column of his own. “‘Systemic racism’ means racism throughout society and its governance and is a false description of Canada and the United States,” he wrote. “It is distressing that so fine a country as Canada diminishes itself with such a prissy, fraudulent, self-righteous attachment to false puritanical truisms that it cannot even abide an innocuous statement that flatters this country.” For some staff who signed the initial letter, these two columns felt like a betrayal—like their bosses’ back-peddling in the preceding weeks had been for show. “They told us in that town hall… ‘Hey, you know, sorry. We know that systemic racism exists. [Publishing Murphy’s column] was more of like an editing issue,’’’ says one reporter. “But then they repeated it later.” For one journalist, this was enraging: “It was clear to me that I had been lied to.”

In late June, staff went back and forth on a Signal group chat, trying to figure out how to best respond. Ultimately, they agreed on another coauthored missive to their editor-in-chief, which arrived in Roberts’ inbox on June 24. In the letter, staff demanded an immediate commitment to diversity training for senior editors, for a clear plan for how the Post would diversify its senior leadership, and for a clear articulation of the paper’s editorial standard on its coverage of racism. “For many years, this paper stood against extremism. Our reporters were among the best anywhere at rooting out the dangerous fantasies and lies that provoke violence and hate. They understood—this paper understood—that the real danger never lies in the farthest edges of the fringe. It’s always in the figures pushing that fringe into the mainstream,” they wrote. Several also went on a byline strike, withholding their names from their articles to signal their objection to the Post’s handling of the Murphy affair. Meanwhile, a group of staff also continued discussions about a renewed union drive.

Their bosses responded a few days later. Lucinda Chodan, Postmedia’s senior vice president, sent an all-staff email, announcing company-wide diversity training and a new leadership development program to support younger employees. Roberts followed up with his own email to staff, offering more specifics on earlier commitments. He said Gurney was already in talks with more than a dozen new contributors for the Comment section, that he’d asked each section head to prepare an action plan to address diversity gaps, and that they were seeking feedback on organizations to be invited to editorial board meetings. It’s a long email. It’s optimistic in tone. “We are all committed to making a better newsroom, and a better National Post,” wrote Roberts. Noticeably absent in each of the two responses, however, was a commitment to change the editorial guidelines around covering race. For a group of Roberts’ staff, it wasn’t good enough.

Late June to August 2020

Every union campaign starts with a spark. “Workers know the conditions are bad or they know there are problems, or they know there’s something they would love to change,” says Nicole Cohen, associate professor at the University of Toronto Mississauga, and a coauthor of a book on digital media unions. “And something does usually push them to the brink where they’re like, ‘This is it. We have to unionize.’” For a key group of Post workers, that brink was provided by their bosses’ refusal to clarify the paper’s editorial standards on race. It sparked the drive, but it wasn’t the only thing that animated the effort. “There was a real sense that we needed to push to have an infrastructure at the paper that would protect people who wanted to speak out,” says one reporter. Some workers who had been involved in the 2017 drive had connected with Unifor back in February, more than three months before the Murphy incident, exploring the potential for a renewed fight. However, the effort hadn’t picked up much steam. In late June, workers reengaged Unifor organizer Justin Minello with more success, buoyed by the renewed interest from their colleagues.

There was broad support for the idea of unionizing among staffers who had led the pushback to Murphy’s op-ed, but a group remained wary. One staff member says she worried the union drive might co-opt the energy generated around antiracism over the past two months, and that demands for pay raises would soon crowd out the demands around BIPOC hiring. Another worried about whether a union would be effective at securing staff demands in general. Despite that, staff talked through these concerns with their colleagues and came around. It was clear, one reporter says, that the Post “needed a union.”

July to August 2020

A small group of staff did much of the heavy lifting of the union organizing, mapping out the workplace and identifying workers likely to vote “yes” or “no.” This process was made easier by the infrastructure left over from the 2017 drive—colleagues’ phone numbers and personal email addresses, and a sense of where each staffer stood. The organizers divided up these names and reached out. The summer goal was to get as many staff as possible to sign union cards without alerting the bosses. With enough cards signed, Unifor could apply to the Labour Relations Board to hold a vote on the union. Staff who signed a card received a response from Minello: “In my conversation with your coworkers I have heard of the issues that are important to you and your colleagues. I have attached Unifor’s policy on racial justice and some other fact sheets that I think you’ll find helpful.” In the last few days of September, union organizers got the final necessary votes to certify.

September 30 to October 8, 2020

Though the stakes were high, staff say the week before the union vote was calm. Both management and the union made their pitches to staff, but neither side was particularly forceful. Roberts emailed staff personally, telling them: “I came back to the National Post last summer because I was drawn to a vibe I badly missed. I never worked anywhere like it. The place hustled. Smart people worked very hard without boundaries. I will acknowledge this: The Post that I returned to isn’t exactly the same place that I started at as a copy editor in 1998.…But the problems here are not unique to the Post, and I don’t think they’re solvable by a union. They’re solved with flexibility, with people thinking outside of the box.”

Both Roberts and staff managers called some workers in the lead up to the vote to ask whether they had any questions. One reporter said such a call was a bit awkward—that he made up a question to ask, so that he wouldn’t reveal that he was voting “Yes”—but that there wasn’t undue pressure from his bosses. The same was true, several staff said, of the engagement with organizers from Unifor. Minello called some workers to feel out which way they would be voting and to answer any questions. The union also sent a couple of emails, with key facts about union drives and how the union could benefit workers. The mood was low-key. Workers were tired, and management didn’t seem hell-bent on trying to swing the vote one way or another. On October 8, staff filled out a secure online voting form—a bit like a multiple-choice test—either voting “yes” for their union, or “no,” not this time.

Aftermath

In the afternoon of October 9, 2020, staff learned they’d won their union by an overwhelming majority, bringing about 40 staff into the new bargaining unit. It was the culmination of four months of organizing, plus many more from the drive in 2017. Despite that, however, the celebration of the union victory was muted. There was no big group call, no champagne. One staff member chalked this up to the stress of the period. COVID-19 was dragging on everyone, and for several staff, fighting with their bosses had been exhausting. In the ensuing months, the union bargained with their bosses for their first contract. The process was civil and quick. While some first contracts can take more than a year to hammer out, this one took just six months. In it, workers won big. They secured an average pay increase of 8.25 percent over the two-year agreement. The lowest-paid staff members would now earn more than $54,000 per year—a jump of more than $14,000 for the poorest-paid web editor. Even workers who were closer to the top of the pay scale benefitted some. Blackwell says the contract provided him with a slight pay raise, even after union dues were deducted and he secured an extra vacation week each year, due to his time with the company.

All workers won the right to claim overtime hours, improved severance pay, and several diversity-related victories. For the two-year contract, BIPOC and otherwise diverse candidates will be offered priority consideration for the internship program. A new hiring clause was also developed to prioritize diverse workers. It requires that if the Post is considering two candidates of equal skill, one of whom is “a BIPOC/diversity candidate,” the company must select the diverse candidate. It’s the first time, according to Unifor, that such language has ever appeared in the contract of any national newspaper. Despite the victories, staff say that some things haven’t changed. In late July 2020, prior to the union certification, conservative columnist Barbara Kay resigned from the Post, deriding the “public treatment” of Rex Murphy and what she perceived as an ongoing anti-conservative “ideological purge” taking place at outlets across Canada. Just three months later (and two weeks after the union victory) Kay was back. Her first return column was about how transgender women athletes (“athletes who are genetically male”) have thrown “fair play out the window” in the world of sport. On the same day, the Post published an editorial, underscoring its commitment to “controversial opinions.”

The editorial said that while much had changed since the paper was founded 22 years earlier, what hadn’t changed was the paper’s central mission: “To challenge the accepted, often flaccid and left-leaning thinking that prevails in most of Canada’s institutions…” The column also suggests that the Post will continue to be a “safe space” for people who dare to offer “unfashionable” opinions—people, who are sometimes “hounded out of their jobs, or at least, out of the public square for daring to question the establishment.” Despite commitments to diversify the paper, its senior leadership and editorial team also remain predominantly white.

In late August, Subramaniam left the Financial Post about a month before the union victory. She’d been offered a job with The Logic, a start-up media company focused on tech and business—a good fit for her skills and interests. It was this “pull factor” that prompted the move, she says, more than a desire to leave the Post. Today, she’s with The Globe and Mail, covering the future-of-work beat—automation, unionization, and more. In looking back on what led to pay raises, overtime, and diversity contract provisions, one reporter is introspective. “Let’s not forget how this all started,” he says. “It started with a group of women of colour [who] put themselves on the line to speak out.”

About the author

Gabe Oatley
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Gabe Oatley is Managing Editor (Podcast) at the Review of Journalism.

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