Chronicle Herald management gives striking union 2nd round of layoffs

Unionized Chronicle Herald employees — who've been on strike for more than four months — announced Sunday eight reporters are being laid off by the company.

Halifax Typographical Union says 8 union members were on layoff list given to them Friday

The union says eight notices were sent this weekend, making a total of 26 notices sent since the first round in January. (CBC)

Unionized Chronicle Herald employees — who have been on strike for more than four months — announced Sunday eight reporters and columnists are being laid off by the company.

Ingrid Bulmer, president of the Halifax Typographical Union, said those members were notified this weekend after the union received a list from the company on Friday.

"When we were talking to them [Herald management], they mentioned they had found new efficiencies and when we asked what those were and what that meant, they said there will be an additional eight layoffs to the 18," Bulmer told CBC on Sunday. 

The paper's management could not be reached for an interview about the latest notices. 

The first round of notices, which included some reoffers, were sent in January. Those notices, however, were suspended the next day. Bulmer said the latest layoffs are permanent and do not include reoffers. 

This time, the union chose to tell the members directly.

"We let our members know because we think it's better to hear it from a friendly voice than to receive a letter in the mail, which would be rather shocking while you are still on strike," she said. 

20 weeks on strike

The strike began Jan. 23. Sixty-one members of the paper's editorial staff initially walked the Halifax picket line. Since then, that number is down to 57 as some have moved on to other jobs or have had to leave for health reasons

Herald management has said it faces financial problems and needs concessions, including wage cuts. Union staff said the proposed contracts are designed to bust the union. 

There's been little contact between the two sides since January. Both sides have met with lawyers and a provincially-appointed mediator.

The company and union met in late May, but talks broke off again on June 1. The union said the company tabled a position worse than the one that prompted the strike in the first place.