Hundreds of supporters and labour activists turned out for province-wide protests Monday as the strike by Chronicle Herald newsroom workers hit the one-year mark.
There was widespread media coverage of the rallies held in six different communities that were organized by the Halifax Typographical Union (HTU) with the help of various labour groups.
In Halifax, Sydney, Antigonish, Yarmouth, Bridgewater and the Annapolis Valley, activists, politicians, journalism students and union members spoke out against union busting in Nova Scotia and demanded the Herald return to the table and bargain in good faith.
One of the more fiery speeches was delivered by CWA Canada President Martin O’Hanlon.
“There is absolutely no reason for the strike, it’s crazy,” he told the crowd of more than 200 gathered outside the Herald building on Joseph Howe Drive in Halifax. “We’ve offered them to get out of the pension plan. We’ve given them wage cuts. We’ve given them concessions across the board and it’s still not good enough. Any other employer would take what we offered and be running with a big smile on their face. But these guys? No, no. They’ve got to crush the union.
“As you can imagine, after a year, we’re getting a little tired of this shit. However … we’re still negotiating because that’s what we do. … We’re still talking, we finally got these guys back at the table … and we are hopeful that we can make a breakthrough.
“But I’ll tell you one thing, if we don’t, this fight is going to get louder, stronger and harder and we’re going to come at them with more guns in the next month, the next two months and the next year if that’s necessary. We are not going to cave in to the demands that these guys are making. This is about quality jobs and quality journalism and if we want that, we need to fight for it,” O’Hanlon said to rousing cheers.
HTU President Ingrid Bulmer said that being on the line for a full year is “a humbling experience that we truly belong to a much larger family than we initially realized. Our struggles aside, we want to sincerely thank everyone that is here, all of the unions that have helped us, all of the donations that have kept us going.”
She thanked the striking members for standing by their leaders. “I am proud to say that I am your president and that we have stuck it out together.”
President Danny Cavanaugh said the 70,000 members of the Nova Scotia Federation of Labour and its affiliated unions are going to stand solidly behind the HTU “until they get a settlement against this union-busting employer.” He repeated his call to the province to conduct an industrial inquiry into the labour dispute.
A hearing by the Nova Scotia Labour Board into an unfair labour practice complaint filed by the HTU, which had been set to begin on the 365th day of the strike, has been moved to Feb. 6.
The union asked for the adjournment after informal discussions last week between lawyers for both sides raised hopes that negotiations would resume. There were some talks over the weekend and into Monday, but no breakthroughs. The HTU is hoping meaningful bargaining can resume in the days leading up to the hearing.