Journalism

After a year of striking, Chronicle Herald workers protest

Herald workers have "guarded optimism" that deal can be reached soon

People of all ages gathered at the Chronicle Herald protest holding signs and flags of support.   Katlyn Pettipas

Striking journalists held a protest on Monday, Jan. 23, the fourth day of negotiations between the Chronicle Herald and the Halifax Typographical Union (HTU).

The protest drew a crowd of about 250 people who gathered outside the Chronicle Herald’s head office on Joseph Howe Drive in Halifax.

The crowd shouted, “no justice, no peace,” and “so, so, so, solidarity,” between speeches from workers, politicians and union leaders. NDP leader Gary Burrill told the crowd the strike has represented “365 days of shame” on the Chronicle Herald. He added that he feared the world is becoming a place where “big money means big bully.”

Lenore Zann singing “we shall not be moved” with the crowd at the Chronicle Herald protest.   Katlyn Pettipas

After Burrill spoke, NDP MLA Lenore Zann led the crowd with the protest song, “we shall not be moved.”

The crowd included striking journalists, students, the general public and members of other unions who all stood in solidarity with the HTU.

After the protests, the HTU continued talks with the Chronicle Herald. These talks are the first face-to-face meetings between the HTU and the company in almost a year.

Ingrid Bulmer, president of the HTU and Frank Campbell, vice president of the HTU, wearing their signs at the protest.   Katlyn Pettipas

HTU Vice President Frank Campbell told The Signal he has “guarded optimism” that today’s talks will lead to a resolution.

“Anytime we are talking, things can happen,” he said. Campbell worked as the Truro bureau chief for the Chronicle Herald before the strike.

During the speeches, members of the crowd would shout “shame” when the Chronicle Herald’s management was mentioned.

Unifor member Christina Ashe protests in solidarity with the HTU.   Katlyn Pettipas

Christina Ashe, a Unifor member who was at the protest in solidarity, said “shame on the Chronicle Herald for doing this to their workers.” She is also hopeful that the fourth day of talks will lead to a resolution.

Flags were waiving high at the Chronicle Herald protest.   Katlyn Pettipas

Other protests in support of the HTU happened today around in the province in Sydney, Antigonish, Bridgewater, Yarmouth and Wolfville. In Halifax, protesters carried signs and flags in support of the striking journalists.

Acadia University professor Robert Seale, brought some humor to the protest.   Katlyn Pettipas

Acadia University professor Robert Seale held a sign that read, “Voldemort is better than this management.” Seale said he has convinced 11 of the 12 Chronicle Herald subscribers who live in his building to cancel their subscription.

“I am here to show my support for this union and for journalists everywhere,” he said. “A bit of levity, a bit of message and a bit of thinking freshens something that is epic … like a year long strike.”

Halifax Needham MLA, Lisa Roberts, showed her support along with fellow NDP MLAs.   Katlyn Pettipas

Speaking about the atmosphere for journalists in the United States, NDP MLA Lisa Roberts said, “a daily newspaper feels more important now than I could have imagined even a couple of years ago.” She said that events in the United States and “weak” media show why it is important to get information from professional journalists.

“I’m not surprised so many people showed up,” she said.

Signs and Tim Hortons cups began pilling up as the protest came to an end.   Katlyn Pettipas

Ingrid Bulmer, president of the HTU who worked as a photojournalist for the Chronicle Herald before the strike, said there was an unbelievable amount of support at the protest. Before the anniversary she would keep track of how many months they have been on strike. Now that it has been a year, she has “stopped counting.”

After the speeches, the crowd lingered for about an hour while passing cars honked their horns in support.

Robert Seale leaves the protest.   Katlyn Pettipas

The Signal reached out to the Chronicle Herald for comment on the protest, but they haven’t replied. We will update this story if they do.