Media

19 HRM candidates back strikers, boycott Chronicle Herald

‘One of the most amazing gestures of support that we've had’ – union

Nineteen candidates for Halifax municipal council have announced they support striking Chronicle Herald journalists and will not give interviews or information to replacement workers at the paper.

The driving force behind the statement is District 9 candidate Kyle Woodbury, whose constituency includes the Dutch Village Road area where the Herald’s offices are located. 

“I’ve seen the strike every morning on my way to work,” says Woodbury, and he realized that few candidates had made known their position on the nine-month strike.

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District 10 candidate Andrew Curran then had the idea to reach out to all of the candidates to make a joint statement, excluding those who are incumbents or have won by acclamation.

“My thought process was that they’ve had nine months to make their stance known,” says Woodbury.

Kate Watson, a candidate for District 5 and a writer for The Coast, says that what she stands for would be compromised if she responded to the Chronicle Herald’s attempts to profile her campaign.

“It’s such a tricky time,” says Watson. “You want to win, but if you win by compromising your values, what kind of win is that?”

Watson says she has friends on strike and that she’s been to the picket line to support them.

In response to the statement, the Halifax Typographical Union, which represents newsroom and press workers at the Herald, tweeted its thanks for the candidates’ support.

There are 50 candidates running, excluding those who are acclaimed.

No candidates from Districts 1, 7, or 13 were listed as supporting the statement, which calls on the Chronicle Herald to “conclude with a fair deal that brings the paper back into relevance,” and to provide “the workers with an acceptable contract.”

Both Mayoral candidates, incumbent Mike Savage and Lil MacPherson, have done interviews with the Herald this week.

“The mayoral race is entirely separate …. I would have liked for them to support the workers and enter into the boycott with us, but I don’t begrudge them,” says Woodbury. The Herald “is read by a lot of people, and you need to reach a lot of people.”

He does not think it reflects badly on Savage or MacPherson, though he recognizes that others may feel differently – and he’s right.

The Signal contacted the Chronicle Herald for comment, but received no response. 

Unionized employees of the Herald newsroom walked off of the job on Jan. 23. Of the original 61 striking staff, 56 unionized reporters, photographers, editors and support staff remain on strike. The rest have move on to other jobs.

Read the candidates’ full statement.