Torstar: The ugly face of today’s capitalism.

A classified advertisement in The Toronto Star caught the eye the other day. It was offering $13.50 per hour for ‘production operators’ at the newspaper and publishing company’s printing facility in Vaughan north of Toronto. It is only when you read the entire ad that you realize they are not looking for printing plant workers but for part-time casual labour to bundle, label and ship newspapers and other printed products coming from the facility’s presses.

But the disgusting part is that The Toronto Star, founded by social activist Joseph E. Atkinson more than 120 years ago, is offering miserable, repetitious bindery type work to people who need to earn a living—at less than what is considered to be the poverty line.

Atkinson, we are told, believed that his newspaper had a social responsibility to the people of Toronto—which does not explain why the company moved its printing plant from Toronto up to Vaughan.

And if you do not live in Vaughan or Brampton, it would certainly cost a good deal for you to get to that job where you can earn less than a living wage at physical drudge work.

The ruling Liberals promised earlier this year to raise the minimum wage in Ontario to $11 per hour. And they kept their miserly word. The Toronto Star gave good play to the complaints of the retail council that the increase was too much. Nobody paid too much attention to the concerned social workers who pointed out that you cannot afford to live in the Greater Toronto Area unless you have a fulltime job paying at least $14 per hour.

But what do the capitalists at The Toronto Star offer? They offer part-time work, no benefits, no nothing extra. Do they even guarantee more than 20 hours per week? They offer a wage that you cannot live on and you do not even know if you would get enough hours to pay your rent.

And you wonder why so many young people are giving up on finding a decent job today? Capitalists such as Torstar are driving them away. Torstar, along with other capitalist exploiters are grinding down the aspirations of a generation. If they really knew how to run the publishing empire that Joe Atkinson created, they could treat people properly. As it is, old Joe would fire the lot of them.

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Copyright 2014 © Peter Lowry

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