Nova Scotia

Herald employees still waiting for resolution as strike passes 8th month

Unionized Chronicle Herald workers have been on strike for more than eight months, but the president of the union said there’s no end yet in sight.

Union says Herald has spent over $400K on security since strike began

Striking newspaper staff have been picketing outside their workplace for over eight months. (CBC)

Unionized Chronicle Herald workers have been on strike for more than eight months, but the president of the union said there's no end in sight.

Ingrid Bulmer, president of the Halifax Typographical Union, said there is "backroom" dialogue between the company lawyer and union lawyer.

"They talk back and forth and it's all in the hopes that we can finally get back to the table where we can sit down face to face and actually negotiate a deal," she told CBC's Information Morning.

"But we're nowhere near that."

The Canadian Media Guild, which represents unionized employees at CBC, has the same parent union as the Halifax Typographical Union — CWA Canada.

'Everybody respects that choice'

Sixty-one members of the newspaper's unionized reporters, editors, photographers, columnists and support staff went on strike on Jan. 23. The number of striking workers is now down to 56.

Bulmer said, although the striking workers are a close-knit group, it's understood that some people have needed to move on.

"It was expected that people would leave, and a lot of people have to make that choice, whether it's for financial reasons or whether it's just because it was time for them to move on and they couldn't see themselves going back to the Herald," Bulmer said.

"They needed to make a choice and everybody respects that choice."

High security costs

The union has reported that the Herald has spent over $400,000 on security since the strike began. 

"It sort of boggles the mind that a company that says that they are poor, and that they need the many concessions that they say they need, asking the newsroom that they need $1.6 million in savings, will spend upwards of $400,000 in seven months for security."

The Herald did not respond to requests for comment about the spending.

'It doesn't make sense'

Herald management said at the beginning of the strike that concessions by newsroom staff were necessary because of financial difficulties faced by the paper. 

A recent national review of Canadian newspapers suggests that papers across the country are beset with challenges, from declining ad revenues to competition from digital outlets. 

Ottawa cuts newspaper ad spending amid worries about sector

But Bulmer said despite the Herald's purported financial woes, it's the only province-wide newspaper in Nova Scotia, and is therefore in a better position than many of its Canadian counterparts.

Bulmer said there are better ways for Herald management to save money than by making cuts to the journalists who perform the core function of the company. 

"If you're a newspaper it doesn't make sense to me that you would reduce the actual product that helps your company." 

With files from CBC's Information Morning

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