New Brunswick

Saint John internet radio coming as stations strike

A new internet radio station is coming to Saint John, according to the president of unionized workers currently on strike from three Saint John radio stations.

Workers at Big John FM, CFBC and K-100 have been on strike since June 25

A new online radio station is coming to Saint John, according to the local president of unionized workers currently on strike at three Saint John radio stations.

Seven employees of Halifax-based Maritime Broadcasting System have been on strike since June 25, failing to reach a contract with their employer.

For almost four weeks, Big John FM, CFBC and K-100 listeners in the Saint John area have been hearing the voices of Halifax-based announcers.

That's because local staff are on strike after eight months of negotiation failed to lead to a first contract with Maritime Broadcasting System.

But soon their voices could be reaching anyone with an internet connection, because union local president Gary Stackhouse says they're launching an online-only radio station.

"We do it in kind of a fun way, and we've got lots of entertainment, information, and all that kind of stuff. So it's both practical from a strike standpoint, and practical from a personal morale standpoint."

The online station will compete with the three MBS stations, which are facing some heat from other unions.

Earlier this week, the District Labour Council asked business owners to pull their MBS advertising, and at least one has.

Steve Green, who owns a shoe store in the city, calls his decision practical.

"Some people don't pay attention, some people do. This is a pretty good union city, and union members listen to the news," Green said.

The radio station employees are members of the Canadian Media Guild, which also represents CBC News, The Canadian Press and APTN employees.

Union staff claim their salaries are close to minimum wage, and mandatory overtime is not paid.

The last offer proposed to workers was $10.58, Stackhouse previously told CBC News.

No one was available at MBS Saturday for comment, but in a previous email, a company spokesperson said the station's offer of a wage increase is "realistic and fair," and included a $1,000 signing bonus.

The union says employees at the three private radio stations have gone 12 years without an across-the-board wage increase.

Stackhouse says there has been no word from the company about returning to the bargaining table.