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Chronicle Herald owners target pressroom workers

Management wants wage freeze, prepares for lockout

by Robert Devet

In preparation of a strike or lockout Chronicle Herald owners have erected a fence around its printing facility in Bedford to keep picketers at a distance. Photo facebook
In preparation of a strike or lockout Chronicle Herald owners have erected a fence around its printing facility in Bedford to keep picketers at a distance. Photo facebook

(KJIPUKTUK), HALIFAX - After reducing its newsroom by a third late last year, Chronicle Herald management has now set its sights on pressroom staff.

“The newspaper's owners have refused to negotiate with their 13 pressroom employees. In two agonizing weeks, both sides will be in a strike or lockout position,” reads a post on the Friends of the Chronicle Herald facebook page.

Workers belong to the Halifax Typographical Union, part of CWA Canada.

Management wants a wage freeze, the elimination of early retirement incentives, the removal of job protection language, and the right to change negotiated shifts, the facebook page claims.

The union asked for only a small wage increase, another post states, “Our union asked for this because during last negotiations the pressmen accepted a cost-neutral contract.”

A 14-day countdown to a potential strike or lockout started on February 3rd.

The workers suspect that there will be a lockout.

“It is unfortunate that instead of negotiating with its pressroom employees when it had the opportunity, The Chronicle Herald's management has chosen to invest a great deal of time, money and other resources training non-bargaining unit workers to do our members' work in the event of a labour disruption,” that post states.

“Management also informs us that it has been busy retaining the services of additional security personnel,” the post continues.

A photo on the facebook page shows a recently erected fence around the printing facility on Bluewater Road in Bedford, presumably to keep picketers at a distance.

In November of last year Herald management announced the layoff of as many as 20 newsroom workers.

After difficult negotiations and through personal sacrifices by many members of the newsroom the union was able to soften the blow.

Two unionized workers were laid off, and 13 workers walked away from the newsroom with either early retirement or buy-out packages.

In exchange the union made concessions on mileage rates and pension contributions and agreed to a wage freeze.

We were unable to contact a spokesperson for the pressroom workers.

See also:

You can't just say take it or leave it

Newsroom staff rally against Chronicle Herald job cuts

Chronicle Herald union offers major concessions to save newsroom staff

Follow Robert Devet on Twitter @DevetRobert


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