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Message to Mark Lever: “Words matter. Readers matter. People matter.”

KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – A rally on day 105 of the Chronicle Herald strike brought out over 200 members of various unions in a show of support for the newsroom workers.

The workers face an employer who refuses to negotiate, and who is keeping a much deteriorated newspaper alive with the help of inexperienced scab reporters.

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A similar rally took place today in Sydney, Cape Breton.

Among the speakers in Halifax was Hassan Yussuff, national president of the Canadian Labour Congress, who called on the provincial government to take on a more active role.

“It’s vital for the province to get their mediation services.  Fundamentally that is part of the system,” Yussuff told the crowd.

“All the workers want is for their employer to go back to the bargaining table and negotiate to find a solution. Nobody can expect a union to agree to over a 1000 changes to their contract and break  the union,” said Yussuff.

We are repulsed by the disrespect that the Chronicle Herald has shown to writers and editors and photographers, to the craft of journalism, and to the readers,” said Gary Burrill, leader of the provincial NDP. “Words matter, readers matter, people matter.”

“I myself don’t read the Herald anymore, but people tell me that it would be an insult to your stove to use the scab Chronicle Herald to start a fire,” said Burrill.

Danny Cavanagh, president of the Nova Scotia Federation of Labour, and Suzanne MacNeil, acting president of the Halifax Dartmouth and District Labour Council also spoke.

Cavanagh challenged other unions to match or better the recent donations of altogether over $25,000 by locals of Nova Scotia CUPE and the Nova Scotia Nurses Union.  

MacNeil spoke about the importance of professional journalism to a free and fair and society.  

“Educated and trained expert labour by professional journalists is what this paper was known for, but that legacy is being tarnished as (Herald owners) Mark Lever and Sarah Dennis insist on keeping you on the picket line here,” said MacNeil.

Frank Campbell, vice president of the Halifax Typographical Union / CWA Canada thanked the crowd.

“Everybody out there has been such a great help over the last 105 days,” said Campbell. ”It’s not like we wouldn’t be here without your support, but we sure like it a lot better with your support,” said Campbell.