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Herald union asks readers to cancel subscriptions for duration of lockout

by Robert Devet

Last night's picket at the printing plant on Bluewater Road in Bedford. The union is asking readers to cancel their subscriptions for the duration of the lockout. Photo Twitter
Last night's picket at the printing plant on Bluewater Road in Bedford. The union is asking readers to cancel their subscriptions for the duration of the lockout. Photo Twitter

(KJIPUKTUK), HALIFAX - The lockout of thirteen unionized Chronicle Herald pressroom workers has now entered its second day.

Monday's Chronicle Herald was printed by replacement workers who were escorted into the plant on Bluewater Road in Bedford under heavy security.

Today workers picketed the Chronicle Herald headquarters on Joe Howe Drive, not far from the Armdale Rotary.

Meanwhile the paper filed an injunction against the pickets.

Now the Chronicle Herald workers are asking for a bit of help from the paper's readers, Ingrid Bulmer, president of the Halifax Typographical Union (HTU), tells the Halifax Media Co-op.

“We are asking readers to phone the Herald and cancel their subscription for the duration of the lockout,” Bulmer says.

“But we definitely want people to come back once the lockout is settled,” Bulmer hastens to add.

Bulmer also asks that people contact Herald management to explain why they are canceling their subscription.

The lockout occurred even though the Halifax Typographical Union (HTU) says that it wants to continue to negotiate and is willing to consider further monetary concessions.

“We're hoping to be back in negotiation tomorrow. We made a very generous proposal,” Martin O'Hanlon, president of CWA Canada, the HTU’s parent union, tells the Halifax Media Co-op.

“We want to reach a deal,” O'Hanlon emphasizes, “and we want to do everything we can to do so, within reason. But our members have a right to a decent contract.”

Herald owners want four years of wage freezes and the elimination of job security language, early retirement provisions and existing scheduling arrangements.

The company has argued that the workers make lots of money and should count their blessings. Pressroom workers earn the highest wages in the region, the owners say.

Bulmer does not buy that.

“It's the largest plant servicing the largest paper in the region,” says Bulmer. “You have to compare apples to apples, and our wages are comparable to what people earn in similar plants anywhere in the country.”

Especially contentious is the elimination of a binding commitment management made in 2007 to provide early retirement to eligible 30-year employees.

The union has filed an Unfair Labour Practice complaint on that issue with the Nova Scotia Department of Labour.

The union is taken aback by the Herald owners' aggressive stance.

“We have been very fair. We voted to negotiate concessions, and still the company locked us out,” says O'Hanlon.

“That's a really lousy thing to do at a basic human level.”


Chronicle Herald management can be reached as follows:

Publisher Sarah Dennis 902-426-3345

President Mark Lever 902-426-2960

VP/COO Ian Scott 902-426-2801

VP Administration Nancy Cook 902-426-3003

Customer Service:
1-800-565-3339 (toll-free)

People are also asked to join the Friends of the Herald facebook page.

Follow Robert Devet on Twitter @DevetRobert



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