Nova Scotia

Union upset by decision to print Cape Breton Post in Halifax

The Post has a 117-year history in Cape Breton and the idea of it being printed off island is pretty upsetting to a lot of people, says a union spokesperson.

Local news coverage, at least in the print version of the newspaper, could be affected by the decision

Saltwire Network said a major factor in its decision concerned the aging Cape Breton Post press that would have required costly upgrades in the near future. (CBC News)

A decision by parent company Saltwire Network to print The Cape Breton Post in Halifax has upset people both in and outside the newspaper, a spokesperson for the union representing staff said Friday.

Saltwire announced the move Thursday. About 14 full- and part-time workers in the press and mailroom at the Post got their layoff notices Thursday as well.

"Obviously, we're very disappointed in the decision that was made by Saltwire. The union executive was not given any advance notice of it," said Nancy King of Local 30460, Sydney Typographical Union.

"We're very disheartened. It was a discouraging day around here."

Earlier deadlines 

Local news coverage, at least in the print version of the newspaper, could be affected by the decision, she said.

"The concern in the newsroom is that there are going to be earlier deadlines which can be expected when you're having the paper printed in Halifax and trucked to Cape Breton." 

There have been workforce reductions at the newspaper but the reason for this one is particularly upsetting, she said.

"The Post has a 117-year history in Cape Breton and the idea of it being printed off island is pretty upsetting to a lot of people."

The Post was printed in Halifax for several weeks earlier this fall due to what the company said in a press release were unnamed "challenges."

The Halifax plant also prints all of the company's other Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island publications.

Aging presses

The union isn't convinced by Saltwire's assertion that the Sydney presses are too old and require too much money to upgrade to do the job properly.

"The press here is aging. It would require some TLC. It wasn't, I don't believe, a situation where they had to shut it down immediately. It could have continued to operate for some time," King said.

"It would likely require some reinvestment at some point in the next year or two but it would still be able at least in the short term to get the paper out."

No boycott, says union

About 40 unionized employees remain at the newspaper.

That is why King, who is a reporter at The Post, is discouraging readers from cancelling their subscriptions and boycotting the paper.

"Instead we would encourage other ways of showing their displeasure with the decision made by Saltwire. We would recommend writing a letter to the editor or contacting senior management at Saltwire, contact them directly and say their feelings about the loss of the press operation here."