News / Halifax

Chronicle Herald purchase proof that financial strain claim was a 'fabrication': Union

SaltWire, the publishers of the Chronicle Herald -- where staff have been on strike for more than a year -- have purchased 28 Atlantic Canada newspapers from Transcontinental.

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SaltWire, the publishers of the Chronicle Herald -- where staff have been on strike for more than a year -- have purchased 28 Atlantic Canada newspapers from Transcontinental.

This week’s purchase of 28 newspapers suggests the Chronicle Herald’s claim of financial struggles is a “total fabrication,” according to the union representing striking workers.

“We were told that the Herald’s demise was imminent if it didn’t immediately cut wages and other benefits to newsroom staff,” Halifax Typographical Union president Ingrid Bulmer said in a release.

“Apparently, that was a total fabrication. The company is not struggling but is instead planning to expand.”

The SaltWire Network, which published the Chronicle Herald, announced the purchase of 28 Atlantic Canada news outlets from Transcontinental Inc. on Thursday morning. Transcontinental says 650 employees will be affected by the transaction, and that they will receive offers from SaltWire.

“This acquisition positions us for growth. We are bringing together 950 talented employees to create a media network that will give national and regional brands access to 71 per cent of the region’s newspaper readers,” SaltWire CEO Mark Lever said in a release. “The deal gives us the reach and relevance we need to be sustainable, allows us to weave the region together in a way we’ve never before seen.”

The union says Lever’s talk of regional expansion stands in “stark contrast to the concessions and regressive demands” from the Chronicle Herald over the 16-month labour dispute. Bulmer suggested the media company may be getting in over its head.

“(Mark Lever) has proven to be incapable of running one newspaper,” she said. “Now he wants to expand his sphere of incompetence. It is simply mind-boggling.”

CWA Canada president Martin O’Hanlon echoed the concerns from HTU.

“The Herald based its bargaining strategy on pleading poverty, yet even when we agreed to major concessions, it wasn’t enough for them,” he said.

“Now we know why. This has never been about money. It has been about power and union busting.”

The deal between SaltWire and Transcontinental includes the following outlets.

- Advertiser (The), Grand Falls-Windsor, N.L.

- Amherst News, N.S.

- Annapolis Valley Register (The), N.S.

- Aurora (The), Labrador, N.L.

- Beacon (The), Gander, N.L.

- Cape Breton Post, N.S.

- Citizen Record (The), Amherst, N.S.

- Colchester Weekly News, N.S.

- Compass (The), Carbonear, N.S.

- Guardian (The), Charlottetown, P.E.I.

- Gulf News (The), Port aux Basques, N.L.

- Journal-Pioneer (The), Summerside, P.E.I.

- Labradorian (The), Labrador, N.L.

- News (The), New Glasgow, N.S.

- Northern Pen (The), St. Anthony, N.L.

- Nor'wester (The), Springdale, N.L.

- Packet (The), Clarenville, N.L.

- Pilot (The), Lewisporte, N.L.

- Queens County Advance (The), N.S.

- Sackville Tribune Post, N.B.

- Southern Gazette (The), Marystown, N.L.

- Telegram (The), St. John's, N.L.

- Tri-County Extra (The), N.S.

- Tri-County Vanguard (The), N.S.

- Truro Daily News, N.S.

- Valley Journal Advertiser, N.S.

- Western Star (The), Corner Brook, N.L

The novanewsnow.com website (digital-only) is also included in the transaction.

The printing plants operated within TC's media sector that are now owned by SaltWire Network Inc., are:

- “Austin Dr.” in St. John's, N.L.

- “Columbus Dr.” in St. John's, N.L.

- “West St.” in Corner Brook, N.L.

- “George St.” in Cape Breton, N.S

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