A message to freelancers from the Halifax Typographical Union
CMG Freelance received the following letter from the Halifax Typographical Union this week:
January 7, 2015
Dear freelance writer/columnist/op-ed contributor,
Members of Halifax Typographical Union who work to produce The Chronicle Herald, TheChronicleHerald.ca and the Business Insider recently began bargaining with the Halifax Herald Ltd.
This is not the first time we reporters, editors, photographers and support staff have been to the table. Since our first contract in 1999, we’ve successfully negotiated agreements without a work stoppage.
But after two rounds of layoffs (most recently in 2014) and agreeing to earlier concessions that would allow the firm to flourish and grow, this time is different.
The company wants to turn back the clock and take away protections we fought to put into place 16 years ago. The company’s ownership and management not only want to gut our benefits and cut our pay by 17%, but also say they plan to lay off 30% of the newsroom, despite any and all concessions we make.
At the same time, the Herald continues to grow its advertorial division at the expense of journalism. Agreeing to its plans would, we believe, spell the end for Canada’s last independently owned paper, reducing it to little more than a cheaply produced vehicle for sponsored content.
After a mere 3.5 days, the company broke off talks Nov. 13 and applied for conciliation. Two days of meetings assisted by a Labour Department rep ended Dec. 18 when the employer again left the table.
The conciliator is expected to file his report in early January, starting a 14-day countdown to a legal strike or lockout. There is a strong likelihood that we could be off the job before the end of January.
If that is the case, we ask that you avoid getting involved in the labour dispute. If you are a freelance writer/columnist/op-ed contributor, make it known that you will not file material or take new assignments until we are back at work with a contract in hand.
We appreciate that in asking this, we are asking you to give up part of your livelihood. But we hope that you believe, as we do, that local news matter. And that local jobs matter, too.
If you would like more details on negotiations, please don’t hesitate to contact either of the undersigned.
Ingrid Bulmer, President email/mobile: firstname.lastname@example.org / 902-210-3465
Frank Campbell, Vice President email: email@example.com
Halifax Typographical Union
Local 30130, CWA/SCA Canada