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MBS strikers branch out

The striking Saint John seven announced today they are expanding their fight for a fair deal with their employer, Halifax-based Maritime Broadcasting System. They are asking listeners and advertisers of the Halifax MBS Radio stations, FX 101.9 and HAL-FM, to boycott the stations until the strikers reach a deal with the company.

Meet the Saint John seven.

The Saint John 7 ask for support in Halifax
The Saint John 7 ask for support in Halifax

They walked off the job on June 25th, 2012, after more than 8 months of trying to negotiate their first collective agreement. The unionized employees, members of the Canadian Media Guild, initiated a successful boycott of the Saint John MBS stations, K-100, 98.9 Big John FM and 93 CFBC, but feel the company is using resources from the other 21 stations in the chain to subsidize its fight to bust the union.

“MBS Radio seems determined to dig in its heels and hope we go away,” says Gary Stackhouse, president of the Guild at MBS Radio in Saint John. “And they seem to be willing to sacrifice revenues in Saint John, at least in the short-term, to do it. What they need to realize is that we are not going away.”

CEP Rep Kim Powers and CMG President at MBS in Saint John Gary Stackhouse
CEP Rep Kim Powers and CMG President at MBS in Saint John Gary Stackhouse

The group is asking Halifax businesses to cease advertising on the Halifax MBS stations until a deal is reached, and for listeners to stop tuning in. They have enlisted the help of the Halifax District Labour Council, the Nova Scotia Federation of Labour and other local labour leaders who support the boycott and the Saint John 7’s fight for a fair deal.Wages are the biggest stumbling block in negotiations. The latest company offer has wage scales from $10.58 to $12.98 per hour to start. The union is asking for wages to start between $12.00 and $17.21 per hour in 2013. The workers have not received any across-the-board wage increases in over a dozen years, and say wages for some positions have actually fallen dramatically.

The Union says it will be visiting MBS advertisers over the next several days to explain their position, and say if the company does not come back to the table and bargain in good faith, they will be taking the boycott to MBS stations in other markets across the Maritimes in the coming weeks.

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