Chronicle Herald newspaper staff now on strike a month

The 61 striking workers at the Chronicle Herald have been on the picket line for a month.

Veteran newspaper reporter and union supporter says seniors feel 'abandoned,' upset by strike

Striking newspaper staff have been picketing outside their workplace for a month. (CBC)

The 61 striking newspaper staff at Halifax's Chronicle Herald have been on the picket line for a month.

The union said it has heard nothing from management in weeks.

Near the end of January, its membership rejected management's offer, which included wage cuts, layoffs and changes to the pension plan and contract language, and then went on strike.

Most days strikers picket in front of the paper's main offices on Joseph Howe Drive in Halifax. In the evenings they shift their pickets to the company's publishing operation in a Bedford industrial park. The group has also picketed in front of businesses that continue to advertise in the newspaper.

Chronicle Herald management did not reply to an interview request.

'My job is bigger than the Chronicle Herald'

Friday afternoon Michael Gorman was one of those picketing in front of the Herald offices.

"We take pride in what we do and our job is bigger, or at least I think my job is bigger than the Chronicle Herald," Gorman said.

"People have a right to information and people should know what's going on whether it's with local government or the province."

When he isn't walking the picket line, Gorman still covers Nova Scotia politics, a job he's done with the Herald for the past 2½ years.

Gorman is not alone. Other Herald journalists continue to split time between picketing and posting articles on a union-sponsored website.

"Not only to let the general public know that we as reporters and photographers and editors are still there and still working, but also to keep people informed about what's going on in the province," Gorman said.

Michael Gorman continues to write about provincial affairs for a union-run website. (CBC)

Seniors feel 'abandoned'

Friday picketers were joined by veteran American newspaper reporter Evelyn White, who now lives in the Halifax area. She worked for the San Franciso Chronicle newspaper between 1986 and 1995.

"We're servants of the people and I have enjoyed writing as a freelancer for [The Chronicle Herald]," White said.

"When I came to understand that the paper was going on strike, I said I can't support the management's position."

White said she's heard from Nova Scotia seniors upset by the strike.

"They feel abandoned," she said.

"They're from an era where newspapers were very, very important to them, part of their daily routines."

Evelyn White says she's been hearing from seniors upset by the work stoppage. (CBC)

'No way of knowing what you're missing'

Gorman and others said they are concerned a diminished newspaper may negatively impact journalism in general.

"When stories aren't being told, there's no way of knowing what you're missing, but you're missing something," Gorman said. 

"Often times, those things that you're missing are some of the most important and valuable pieces of information that you could have as a member of society."

The union plans to meet this weekend to discuss its next moves.

Corrections

  • An earlier version of this article says Evelyn White worked 30 years for the San Francisco Chronicle. In fact, White began working for the newspaper around 30 years ago. She spent about a decade there.
    Feb 20, 2016 11:43 AM AT

About the Author

Blair Rhodes

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Blair Rhodes has been a journalist for more than 34 years, the last 25 with CBC. His primary focus is on stories of crime and public safety.

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