A tentative deal has been reached between the Halifax Chronicle Herald and its striking employees.
A joint media statement from the paper’s owner Saltwire Network and the Halifax Typographical Union said they had reached an agreement to end the 18-month strike after two days of mediation.
“The terms of the deal have not been disclosed and a media blackout will continue until the agreement is ratified,” the statement read.
A media blackout is standard in every collective agreement reached, explained Communications Workers of America Canada’s president Martin Hanlon in an interview with CBC News Saturday.
Sense of relief
“Because it is our obligation to tell our members what is happening first before we tell anybody else,” Hanlon added.
CWA Canada is the parent union of the local Halifax Typographical Union which represents the unionized Chronicle Herald employees.
Hanlon said the next steps will be information meetings with the members explaining the new details of the agreement. A ratification vote is tentatively scheduled for Wednesday.
Hanlon said if it passes, workers will head back to work “as soon as practical.”
“Of course it’s a huge relief. We’re obviously very pleased that this could be over,” he said.
Both sides thanked William Kaplan, the provincially appointed mediator who was brought in to help them reach an agreement.
Nova Scotia’s acting Minister of Labour and Advanced Education Derek Mombourquette thanked both sides and the mediator “for their hard work over the long weekend to reach a tentative agreement” in a statement Saturday afternon.
“I hope this begins the process of rebuilding the relationship,” Mombourquette said in the statement.
The statement said they are “pleased to focus on putting this difficult period behind them.”
The province announced in July it would launch a commission to help end the contract dispute.
Employees with the union, representing several dozen striking reporters, photographers and other workers, have been on strike since Jan. 23, 2016.
At the time, the union included 61 reporters, editors, photographers, columnists and support staff.
The Chronicle Herald is Nova Scotia’s oldest independently owned newspaper. During the strike, it relied on reporters who crossed the picket line while its unionized workers were on strike.
Striking workers launched their own news site, localxpress.ca. It’s unclear what will become of that website if a deal is ratified.
In Nova Scotia’s labour history, the Chronicle Herald’s strike is noted as the province’s longest walkout in a decade.