Friday, 15 November 2019
featured Labour

Chronicle Herald looking for scabs.

KJIPUKTUK (HALIFAX) – The Chronicle Herald is hiring. Yesterday job listings for multiple Team Editor positions in Halifax and what is called a Content Writer in Cape Breton were posted on various websites.

“Must enjoy working in a hostile, unappreciative and unethical environment.”

HTU facebook post.

The new hires would be nothing but scabs, but don’t expect the Chronicle Herald to point that out. There is no  indication that the jobs are temporary, even though Chronicle Herald newsroom workers, members of the Halifax Typographical Union (HTU), are on strike.

That’s wrong, says Dave Wilson, a staff representative with CWA/SCA Canada, the HTU’s parent union.    

“The fact of the matter is that when we eventually get a collective agreement these people will be unemployed,” Wilson tells the Nova Scotia Advocate.

“All the work these new hires would be doing falls within our jurisdiction, as it was defined when we organized as a union in 1999,” says Wilson. “That work is within our certificate filed with the Labour Board, so that is work we will do at the end of the day.”

The ads may be misleading, they are interesting nonetheless.

Newsroom workers have argued all along that the dispute is about more than wages, seniority and job security.  They are also fighting management’s move away from news to paid content and advertorials.

The new job postings demonstrate that the newsroom workers weren’t just being paranoid.

The new Cape Breton hire would write for both the Sydney news bureau and the Herald’s free weekly community paper, the job posting states.  

Among other duties, the new reporter would be expected to “work with sales department and local community for business opportunities related to assigned community products.”

It’s those kind of blurred line between advertising and reporting that is anathema to what news gathering is all about.

The bottom line is that  Herald management finds it difficult to keep the paper going, Wilson says.

“They’re no doubt running around like crazy, trying to get whatever work done, because there is no staff anymore, and they need help,” Wilson says.

“Rather than getting back to the bargaining table, they choose this route, which says a lot about their style.”

Follow the Halifax Typographical Union on Twitter and Facebook. Check out Local Xpres,  an online-only news site, staffed by HTU volunteers.

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