Media

Striking Chronicle Herald workers plan to file labour complaint

Herald bargaining in bad faith, union says

HTU president Ingrid Bulmer (left) and other union members Monday afternoon.
HTU president Ingrid Bulmer (left) and other union members Monday afternoon.   John Sandham

Members of the Halifax Typographical Union (HTU), who have been on strike for 9½ months, say they intend to file an unfair labour practice complaint against the Chronicle Herald.

About 25 of the union’s 55 striking workers protested outside the Herald offices on Joseph Howe Drive Monday afternoon. Labour negotiations that began informally two weeks ago – and officially last Friday – broke down over the weekend, prompting the union to take legal action.

A news release sent to media outlets Monday morning outlined the union’s belief that the Herald has been bargaining in bad faith.

“Every offer they’ve made … was designed for us to reject,” said Willy Palov, a member of the union’s bargaining committee. “We felt we had no choice but to go through the labour board.”

Ingrid Bulmer, president of the HTU, agrees.

“We finally had enough and said, ‘this is it’,” said Bulmer. “They’re not looking to get a deal at all.”

Bulmer said the union has given the Herald more than enough chances to return to the bargaining table in good faith.

“You keep hoping that you’re going to get a deal, so you give one more chance, one more shot,” she said.

Bulmer said the complaint is being made, in part, because the Herald is asking them to change part of their union regulations. This change would allow the Herald to hire non-union staff or contract out any work they choose.

Herald president and CEO Mark Lever could not be reached for comment Monday afternoon.

According to the Nova Scotia Labour Board, an employer promising provisions to stop employees from joining a union is an example of an unfair labour practice.

Unionized Herald workers have been on strike for nearly ten months.
Unionized Herald workers have been on strike for nearly 10 months.   John Sandham

The union plans to file its complaint with the labour board in the next few days. Palov said it could take four to six weeks for the complaint to be resolved, but hopes the process will be expedited due to the prolonged nature of the strike.

“It’s optimistic to think it’d be settled before Christmas,” he said.

If the dispute isn’t settled by December, it will push the union closer to the one year anniversary of its members walking off the job. The strike began on Jan. 29, 2016.