Canada : Talks between press union, Herald break down
Contract talks between the region’s largest newspaper and its press union broke down Wednesday night.
“It’s unfortunate that the two sides were unable to come to a common
Cook, the company’s vice-president of administration, said The Herald sought concessions from its 13 press operators and mechanics, including limitation of some job security and early retirement incentives as well as a four-year wage freeze.
She said the newspaper’s press operators are the highest paid in the region, have a defined benefit pension plan, up to seven weeks annual vacation and other benefits.
“We were looking to obtain an agreement that would allow the company to move toward sustainability while protecting our employees,” she said.
Cook said The Herald was planning on sending a final offer to the union at about 11 p.m. She said it would be open for acceptance until noon Friday. However, as of 11 p.m., the union said it hadn’t yet received it.
Ingrid Bulmer, president of The Halifax Typographical Union, said the company is trying to force a vote before noon Friday. That is when both sides are set to speak to the Labour Board about the union’s complaint of bad-faith bargaining.
“We think it’s a blatant attempt to avoid going before the board because they’re worried they will lose,” Bulmer said, adding the union has a meeting scheduled for Saturday and has told the company it would hold a final vote then.
Martin O’Hanlon, president of the Communications Workers of America (Canada), the parent union of the HTU, said the union is the only side that has moved in negotiations.
“We moved significantly today and the company is the one that has not moved one iota so far and that’s what has caused this whole impasse,” he said. “The company’s behaviour in this negotiation is the worst I’ve seen of any company that I’ve been involved in. This company used to bargain fairly and reasonably but they have abandoned all standards of decency.”
The Herald said no further contract talks are planned and the two sides are in a legal strike or lockout position as of midnight Friday night.