DEBORAH RICHMOND | Web Editor
A wave of exhilaration has swept through social media with news of a stunning $40,000 donation to striking members of CWA Canada’s Halifax Local.
“We are still in shock,” said Ingrid Bulmer, president of the Halifax Typographical Union (HTU), who was presented a ceremonial cheque Thursday by Janet Hazelton, president of the Nova Scotia Nurses’ Union (NSNU).
What appears to be a record-setting donation resulted from a fundraising frenzy at the annual meeting of the NSNU, which has 6,900 members in 122 Locals.
Delegates had arrived knowing they would be called upon once again to support the 53 newsroom workers at The Chronicle Herald, who’ve been on the picket line since Jan. 23, 2016.
Unionized nurses have been incredibly generous supporters of the HTU. At the NSNU convention last year, when the strike was into its fourth month, a motion to pass the hat yielded pledges totalling an astounding $13,176.
(An additional $1,500 was donated throughout the year by the provincial union and even more came from individual Locals. The Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions donated $5,000 last year.)
This year, some Locals arrived with cheques already in hand. One, with three members, handed over $500. Then it was $1,000, $2,000 …
Momentum built with the Canadian Labour Congress ponying up $1,500, gleefully topped by the Nova Scotia Federation of Labour with $1,501.
When Hazelton made a spur-of-the-moment declaration that the NSNU would match that day’s donations, it ignited a competition that piled up $20,000 in 10 minutes.
“My CFO and secretary-treasurer are now at Colchester Hospital with IVs in their arms because of the heart attacks they had when I made that commitment,” said a laughing Hazelton.
She said the provincial union had not budgeted for that amount of donation, but “we’ll come up with it somewhere.”
The HTU announcement about the donation on its Facebook page — “We are speechless after this incredible act of generosity and solidarity. We cannot express how grateful we are after 15 months on strike. Thank you SO much!!” — elicited almost 70 comments, far more than any other posts since the strike began.
“That’s amazing! Gave me goosebumps,” wrote Erica.
Joanne posted: “As a wife of one of the striking members, I am so grateful – thank you so much! It makes you believe in the goodness of humanity again.”
Pam Sword, editor of the strikers’ news website, LocalXpress.ca, wrote: “Thank you, Nova Scotia Nurses’ Union, from me and my daughter. This has been a terrible time for us and your gesture of kindness and generosity has made us very happy. We really are all stronger together. You are our angels. xo”
Bonnie wrote: “My oldest daughter, who is an RN, proudly texted me this amazing news this evening. When we as teachers were on strike earlier this year, we received incredible support from both the NSNU and the Halifax Typographical Union. #solidarity”
Bulmer said the HTU hasn’t decided yet what to do with all the money. Most of it will be used to top up strike pay and to beef up the hardship fund.