One Year: Struggle and Strength
January 23, 2017
One year ago today, newsroom workers at the Chronicle Herald–under pressure to accept wage cuts, work longer hours, and give up critical benefits and rights–said to their employer: We cannot accept this.
They said it in the form of a strike. They took to the streets and picket lines, and joined by people in communities across the province, undertook a considerable effort: defending the craft of journalism, and demanding fair treatment and respect.
In a province where the Chronicle Herald has for a long time been a primary news source for many households, this was a major moment–one where the employer seemed to figure that the newspaper was so woven into the fabric of the province that no union effort could pose much of a threat or make much of a difference.
Fast-forward to May 19, when striking Herald workers unveiled an expanded online news site for the Local Xpress, now a mainstay in the Nova Scotia media world and a successful, growing business.
Fast-forward to September 15, when news broke that the Herald had made the decision to shut down its weekly publication, the Cape Breton Star. The reason? A “headwind of union sympathy in Industrial Cape Breton,” according to the company.
Fast-forward to October 19, when Metro Halifax officially became the most widely read newspaper in Halifax, superseding the Herald.
Fast-forward to today, when thousands of people from Sydney to Yarmouth are holding rallies in solidarity with the journalists, editors and photographers of the Halifax Typographical Union.
They are protesting not only the Herald’s disrespect and disdain for the profession of journalism, but also the McNeil Liberals’ failure to contribute to a constructive conclusion to this impasse.
“Oh yes,” the government regularly responds when this failure is brought up to them, “we’re very concerned about the Herald strike.”
Some measures of this concern:
- Joachim Stroink, Liberal MLA for Halifax Chebucto: subscription and advertisements during the strike totalling $507;
- Randy Delorey, Liberal Minister of Finance: subscription and advertisements totalling $1143;
- Kelly Regan, Liberal Minister of (no kidding!) Labour: subscription and advertisements totalling $1,657;
- Pam Eyking, Liberal MLA for Victoria-The Lakes: subscription and advertisements totalling $3,220;
- David Wilton, Liberal MLA for Cape Breton Centre: combined Herald expenses during this strike totalling $8,702.
Earlier today, I was privileged on behalf of our Party, along with MLAs Lisa Roberts and Lenore Zann, to address the Halifax rally in support of the Herald workers. I said there that on this anniversary day, we mark with admiration the courage and tenacity that have been so much in evidence in the Halifax Typographical Union in the course of these 365 long days, and we commit ourselves to our continuing support in this defining struggle.
In solidarity and hope,