Newsroom employees at The Chronicle Herald voted 98.3 per cent in favour of strike action on Saturday to defend their collective agreement.
Fifty-nine of 60 staff represented by Local 30130 of the Halifax Typographical Union voted in favour of giving a strike mandate to their bargaining team. The union represents 61 reporters, photographers, editors, writers and support staff at the Halifax-based daily.
“This vote is a strong condemnation of The Chronicle Herald’s bullying approach to labour relations,” said local president Ingrid Bulmer.
“Their promise to lock us out and their clear attempt to destroy the newsroom union is unacceptable,” she said.
The company, in an unusual move in Nova Scotia labour relations, issued a lockout notice on Monday before conciliation had concluded.
Even with last-ditch conciliation talks scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday and with Herald CEO Mark Lever writing in a newspaper ad published Saturday that he has never planned to lock out the workers, staff have been asked to turn in their equipment by Friday at 4 p.m. Both sides will be in a legal lockout or strike position at 12:01 a.m. on Saturday Jan. 23.
“We don’t want a work stoppage,” said David Wilson, staff representative with CWA Canada, the local’s parent union. “We want to work with the company to hammer out a fair agreement that works for both sides and protects quality journalism.”