Back (sort of)

I’ll be returning to posting more regularly in the next little while. But in the meantime, here’s updates on two earlier posts.

In February of last year, I interviewed musician Jim Pons (the Leaves, the Turtles, the Mothers of Invention) while he was in the process of writing his autobiography. Hard Core Love: Sex, Football, and Rock and Roll in the Kingdom of God has now been published; you can buy it here.

In June of this year, I wrote about the very long strike by the members of the Halifax Typographical Union at the Chronicle Herald newspaper in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and the Nova Scotia provincial government’s refusal to intervene in the dispute. In mid-July, the government announced that an industrial inquiry commission would investigate the dispute – the investigation starting with two days of mediated discussions between the employer and the union, and, if that did not produce a resolution, a public hearing in which the mediator could request either side to produce any documentation the mediator thought was relevant. I was interviewed by CBC Radio Halifax about the inquiry, and expressed some skepticism as to whether the parties would be even close to agreeing on anything.

I was very happy to be proven wrong. After two days of mediation in August, the employer and the union announced they had reached a tentative settlement, which was subsequently ratified in a vote by the union members. I don’t know what went on in the mediation – I can only guess that perhaps the possibility of having otherwise confidential information made public was enough to motivate one or both of the parties to significantly change their bargaining positions. 27 of the 61 HTU members that went on strike are now back on the job; some received layoff notices as part of the settlement, and others moved on to other jobs during the 565-day strike.  There will likely be hostilities and hard feelings in the workplace after such a long and contentious conflict. I sincerely hope that things will be easier in the future for these workers.


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