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News brief: We’re not budging from our draconian demands, says Chronicle Herald management

KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – Chronicle Herald newsroom workers will remain out on the picket line for the foreseeable future, says a news release from the Halifax Typographical Union / CWA Canada.

“The union reached out to the company through the conciliator who has been dealing with the seven-week-old dispute. The company brushed off conciliator Peter Lloyd’s approach, saying it didn’t feel the union was ready to make “necessary” concessions,” the news release states.

The union was simply following up on a suggestion that the Herald was ready to talk, says David Wilson, a staff representative with CWA/SCA Canada, the HTU’s parent union.

“Someone showed (CWA Canada president) Martin O’Hanlon a text stating that (Chronicle Herald CEO) Mark Lever was willing to go back to the table, so we asked the conciliator to check it out,” explains Wilson.

It turned out the text was not from Lever, and that the Herald isn’t budging.

59 journalists, editors and photographers have been out on the picket line for seven weeks.

The company wants to cut salaries and increase working hours, significantly reduce benefits in the defined benefit pension plan, and eliminate seniority considerations when staff are targeted for layoffs.

Before launching a defensive strike action Jan. 23, the union offered substantial concessions such as a five per cent wage cut, a cap on severance pay, reduced mileage rates and fewer vacation days.

The union is in no mood to cave in to the company’s demands.

“Management’s current offer is so regressive we might as well not have a union,” says Wilson. “We have nothing to lose by being on strike.”

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