HTU ramps up strike against Chronicle Herald
Union to hire its own freelancers to force the paper to return to negotiations
March 2, 2016, 12:07 pm ASTLast Updated: March 3, 2016, 9:07 am
After six weeks on the picket line, the Halifax Typographical Union is increasing the pressure on the Chronicle Herald by hiring freelancers and starting a new advertising campaign.
Local and national union leaders announced the new measures Wednesday morning.
“We’re going to be ramping up the pressure against this company until we can get them back to the table to get a fair deal,” said Martin O’Hanlon, president of the Communication Workers of America Canada, the HTU’s parent union.
O’Hanlon said the union will hire freelancers that no longer work with the Chronicle Herald to work at Local Xpress, the news website operated by striking Herald journalists.
Members of the CWA and HTU, as well as members of labour unions in Halifax and Dartmouth, will officially boycott companies that continue to advertise with the Herald during the strike.
The union will also put out a radio campaign asking listeners to cancel their subscriptions to the newspaper.
The campaign may also include billboards and bus stop advertisements.
The 61 unionized Herald employees began their strike on Jan. 23 over contract negotiations with the newspaper.
The same day, the Herald issued layoff notices to 18 of them.
The Herald wanted to reduce wages, lengthen working hours and change pension benefits.
It has brought in freelance writers to maintain the paper during the strike.
When asked if the union’s newest actions will have a negative effect on the paper in the long run, O’Hanlon said there will be a negative effect, but it isn’t the union’s fault.
“We warned the company, if they forced these unreasonable demands that they’re going to hurt the paper,” he said.
“We want the Herald to make as much money as possible. It’s good for everybody. But at a certain point we can’t just sit here and do nothing.”
O’Hanlon said the union can afford to support these measures “indefinitely.”
“We see this as a fight for quality jobs and quality journalism,” he said. “If we lose this fight, we’re never going to have a quality newspaper in Halifax again.”
Mark Lever, the CEO of the Chronicle Herald, could not be reached for comment.