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Pay Equity, the Chronicle Herald, and International Women's Day

by Halifax Typographical Union

March 7, 2016


Striking members of The Chronicle Herald newsroom want their employer to mark International Women's Day by dropping at least one of the 1,200 controversial contract changes it is demanding that staff accept.

"We want to remind Nova Scotians that one of this company's outrageous demands is to get rid of the pay equity language in our contract," said Ingrid Bulmer, president of Halifax Typographical Union Local 30130, which represents the 59 reporters, photographers, editors and support staff.

The pay equity clause reads: "The company at all times recognizes the principle of equal pay for equal work for male and female employees, in keeping with the provisions of this collective agreement."

Union member Pam Sword said equal pay for men and women was one of the issues that led to the formation of the union in 1999.

Sword, digital news editor for The Chronicle Herald, said some women in the newsroom were making half of what men were making at the same jobs, despite comparable qualifications and experience.

"This company wants to roll back the clock to a time when newsroom employees had no say," Bulmer said. "Nova Scotians need to realize that we need a strong union in the newsroom, not only to prevent the exploitation of women, but so reporters can do independent journalism without getting fired because they are upsetting advertisers or the government."

Sword, who is also editor of LocalXpress.ca, the striking journalists' online news site, will talk about pay equity and issues that led to the union's certification during a rally tomorrow at Halifax's Grand Parade.

The rally, sponsored by the Halifax-Dartmouth and District Labour Council, runs from 5:30 p.m. until 6:30 p.m.

The union called a defensive strike on Jan. 23 after the company refused to consider major financial concessions, including an offer to take a five per cent wage cut.

Instead, the company intended to impose severe working conditions that would make a mockery of the grievance procedure and seniority during layoffs, allow contracting out of work done by experienced, long-service editors and reduce the hourly wage rate by 17 per cent.

The company also wants to freeze the defined pension plan for newsroom workers, whose average age is 50.

For information, please contact Ingrid Bulmer, president, Halifax Typographical Union Local 30130, at 902-210-3465 or Frank Campbell, HTU vice-president, at 902-883-9048.

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