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Solidarity with the Halifax Typographical Union

The Council of Canadians stands in solidarity with the Halifax Typographical Union and the 57 reporters, photographers, editors and support staff at the Halifax Chronicle Herald who have been on strike for the past 109 days.

As noted in a Nova Scotia Federation of Labour media release, “On Friday, May 6, Canadian Labour Congress President Hassan Yussuff will speak at a noon rally for the 57 Striking Herald workers, who have been on the picket line for over 100 days.” Yussuff called on the province to appoint a mediator to help end the strike. He says, “It’s vital for the province to get their mediation services.  Fundamentally that is part of the system.  All the workers want is for their employer to go back to the bargaining table and negotiate to find a solution. Nobody can expect a union to agree to over a 1000 changes to their contract and break the union.”

During the rally, the Halifax Typographical Union posted on their Facebook page, “So heartwarming to see so many folks show up to the picket line today to help us try to get back to work! We cannot thank everyone enough for how supportive they’ve been through this tough time.”

The Canadian Press has reported, “The editorial staff have been off the job since January 23. The union is striking against a list of contract concessions which Herald management says are needed to cope with economic challenges affecting the North American newspaper industry. Among a host of proposed changes, the newspaper wants to reduce wages, lengthen working hours, and alter future pension benefits. The union has said it would remain a union ‘in name only’ if it agrees to more than 1,232 changes to the existing contract.”

The CBC adds, “The labour contract proposed by management of the Chronicle Herald contains language that could be used to kill the union at Canada’s oldest independently owned newspaper, legal experts say. …It changes job security to ‘an aspiration rather than a right’, said Jula Hughes, a University of New Brunswick professor who specializes in labour law and has reviewed the offer. …Management could hire contractors or brand new non-union employees to do the work of union members. It’s language that Hughes said she has never seen.”

On May 1, Claire McIlveen, secretary of the Halifax Typographical Union, said, “This is a US style union busting drive. We’ve offered major concessions to the Herald when talks were on, including a five per cent wage cut which, if you’re involved with labour at all, that is huge. That is a huge concession. They didn’t even want to talk to us.”

The union’s Facebook page is here.

Further reading
Council of Canadians joins Halifax Typographical Union picket line (February 8, 2016)