Jan 28, 2016
Halifax Chronicle Herald Newsroom Workers Forced to Strike
Workers at the Halifax Chronicle Herald, Canada's oldest independently owned newspaper, were forced to strike on Jan. 23 over management's outrageous concessionary demands that were set to be imposed on the 61 workers. The members already had rejected those giveback demands.
The reporters, editors, photographers, columnists and support staff are members of the Halifax Typographical Union, CWA Canada Local 30130. The company's demands included wage cuts, longer hours, ending the current pension plan, gutting the union contract, and laying off a third of the staff.
One of management's demands would move senior editors to a non-union production center, where after one year, their pay would be cut by as much as $30,000 a year, the local said. "The newsroom unionized in 1999 over two issues: to get rid of a 10-year wage freeze and to eliminate glaring wage disparities like those the Herald wants to bring back," the local said.
"Imposing regressive working conditions is an extremely provocative move and the Herald knew full well that it would result in a strike," said CWA Canada staff representative David Wilson. "In my 20 years of negotiating newspaper contracts in Canada, I've never seen an employer do this," he said.
Management threatened to lock out the newsroom workers last week, and for several months has been attempting to recruit recent journalism school graduates and freelancers to produce news coverage in the event of a work stoppage.
CWA Canada Associate Members, which include 600 student, freelance and other journalists nationwide, is calling for solidarity with the Herald workers. Members are picketing in front of the Herald building.
Members picket in front of the Herald building.
Photo credit: Eric Wynne photo, CWA Canada
NYC Traffic Agents Reach 7-Year Tentative Agreement
New York City traffic enforcement agents, members of CWA Local 1182, reached a tentative seven-year agreement with the city that includes raises and a signing bonus. The 2,100 agents issue parking tickets and direct traffic throughout the city.
"Our traffic enforcement agents keep our roads moving and our pedestrians, bikers and drivers safe. This agreement means they'll get the fair wages they deserve, while protecting New York City's fiscal health," said Mayor Bill de Blasio. "With 95 percent of our workforce under contract agreement, compared to 0 percent when we took office, we're continuing to restore a productive and respectful relationship with the men and women who serve our city."
CWA Local 1182 President Syed Rahim said, "I am thrilled that a landmark tentative agreement has been reached between New York City and Traffic Enforcement Agents. This contract builds the foundation to adequately compensate my members who contribute so much toward the greatness of this City."
Journalists, Elected Officials Rally to Save El Diario
The News Guild of New York, CWA Local 31003, rallied on the steps of City Hall Wednesday morning to protest the latest round of layoffs that have gutted El Diario/La Prensa, the mainland's oldest Spanish-language newspaper.
Journalists and union members spoke out alongside city council members, who had held an oversight hearing on the importance of supporting local ethnic media immediately after the press conference. They expressed concern that in its 103rd year of publishing, El Diario would soon go out of print.
"It'd be shameful for a city like New York City not to have a Spanish daily we can hold and read," said city councilmember Rosie Mendez.
On Jan. 15, El Diario's parent company, ImpreMedia, laid off nearly half of the publication's editorial and sales staff – dealing a devastating blow to an already overstretched, demoralized newsroom.
El Diario is viewed as "The Champion of the Hispanics" in the city's Spanish-speaking communities. Many readers – especially senior citizens – do not have access to digital forms of media, and would have no other way to learn about what's going on in their neighborhood, their city and their country if the outlet ceased its print publication.
City Council President Vincent Alvarez said he is proud to stand with the New York Guild in the fight to save El Diario.
Stand Up to Verizon!
Members of CWA Local 2201 at Verizon Park Central work site in Richmond, VA, stand up for good jobs and a fair contract.