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Union asks for inquiry into 13-month Halifax strike

HALIFAX — It's time for the provincial government to step in and do something about the 13-month strike by 55 newsroom employees at The Chronicle Herald, says the Halifax Typographical Union (HTU).

The HTU has asked Nova Scotia Labour Minister Kelly Regan to appoint an Industrial Inquiry Commission to penetrate the root causes of the prolonged dispute and help the newsroom reporters, editors, photographers and support staff get back to work, while maintaining the Herald as a profitable entity and returning it to the place of prominence that it had earned in the province over these many years.

"This strike has been going on far too long and it is not helping The Chronicle Herald, its brand and its once unbreakable bond with Nova Scotia readers," said Ingrid Bulmer, HTU president. "And the strike is definitely not helping our members who, for more than a year, have been unable to contribute adequately to the struggling economy of the province while keeping a well-established readership informed."

The HTU has offered the following concessions to the company:

  • Substantially reduced severance for laid-off employees;
  • Jurisdiction change to allow page production to be done outside the bargaining unit;
  • Wage cuts that equal about $100,000 in savings going forward;
  • With layoffs, payroll would be reduced by about $2.9 million;
  • Longer work week, reducing hourly wages further;
  • Freezing the existing defined benefit pension plan;
  • Lower salary for new hires;
  • Banked time capped and used within six months;
  • An eight-year deal;
  • Reduced mileage rate.

The savings to the company in not paying newsroom staff salaries for the past 13 months tops $5 million. Still, the company demands more.

The union has filed and withdrawn an unfair labour practice complaint with the Nova Scotia Labour Board, withdrawn primarily because the company agreed to back away from year-long demands for jurisdictional changes to the union's certification.

The company agreed to bargain in good faith but again, in the most recent round of talks, its demands again far outreached its needs in concessionary bargaining.

"We don't have anything left to give," Bulmer said.

The union had requested in September that an Industrial Inquiry Commission be appointed, but that request was denied by the Labour Department.


For information, please contact:
Ingrid Bulmer, president, Halifax Typographical Union, 902-210-3465
Frank Campbell, HTU vice-president, 902-883-9048
Martin O’Hanlon, CWA Canada president, 613-867-5090