Newsroom employees at The Chronicle Herald in Halifax today voted 94.6 per cent in favour of ratifying a new contract. The four-year agreement includes annual wage increases of two per cent for the 84-member bargaining unit of the Halifax Typographical Union. “I think this agreement is fair and reasonable and, from today’s ratification vote, it is clear the membership agrees,” says HTU president Stephen Forest. The reporters, photographers, editors and other newsroom staff had been without a contract since Nov. 21. Days before the union negotiation team went into conciliation, the membership gave it a powerful 96-per-cent strike mandate. 2012.02.10| Strike vote spurs tentative deal in Halifax 2012.02.06| Hard bargaining in Halifax aided by strong strike mandate 2009.02.03| First-ever layoffs leave newsroom staff reeling 2008.01.14| Planned strike vote switches to ratification nod to 4-year deal The company dropped its demand to introduce a community weeklies reporter classification that would have paid salaries less than half of what reporters now earn, says Forest. While the company also wanted to establish a nine-step wage grid with significantly lower starting salaries for new reporters and photographers, the union agreed to go from a five-step to a six-step wage grid in this classification with a slightly lower starting salary than at present. Martin O’Hanlon, Director of CWA Canada, said the “company had been pushing hard for major concessions, but it backed down in the face of an overwhelming strike vote. This is what unions can accomplish with a strong, united membership.” For further information, contact HTU president Stephen Forest at 902-452-2390.