As people returned to normal routines this
week following spring break, they were having to adjust to
an editorial department at the Halifax daily that contained
19 fewer staff.
Without the union's intervention and provisions
in the collective agreement, 24 newsroom employees would
have been laid off — a quarter of the department's
Stephen Forest, acclaimed as the new president
of the Local at a general membership meeting March 14, says
a majority voted that day to accept concessions that would
spare three jobs. As a result, members will see an increase
in their contributions to the pension plan and all unionized
workers in the newsroom will take one week a year of unpaid
One layoff was averted when the company
agreed to let a library staffer engage in a money-making
project using the newspaper's archives.
Helping to reduce layoffs from 24 to 10
were nine employees who decided to take a buyout. Several
of those did so to save their colleagues' jobs.
Their altruism was not lost on those who
attended the tearful meeting a week ago Saturday.
One of those taking a buyout was Peter
Duffy, who had become the Local's president in early January.
Another change on the executive saw Andrea Nemetz replace
Greg Guy as treasurer.
Forest, a desker and for the last four
years the sports department representative for the union,
has been at the newspaper for 23 years. This is his first
executive position with the Halifax Typographical Union (HTU).
He knows that he's not facing a cakewalk: "There
will be a lot of challenges, that's for sure."
Forest says he is disappointed that management
of the independent newspaper owned by the Dennis family seems
to be reluctant to accept and deal with the HTU, which dates
Given the state of the media industry and
the global economic crisis, he says he wouldn't be "surprised
if more cuts are possibly on the horizon."