The Newspaper Guild of Greater Philadelphia

Our stand on the company’s final contract offer.

After numerous questions from members about where the Guild bargaining committee stands with regard to the latest contract offer from the Company, we felt the need to clarify our position before this week’s meetings and vote.

What we will be voting on this week is the Company’s proposal. It is not an agreement signed off on by the Guild bargaining committee. There were no handshakes this time around. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first time the Guild has ever put
up a contract for a vote that the bargaining committee had not agreed to. We would not even have brought it for a vote if the Company had not labeled it a “Final Proposal.”

Told more than once that the Guild bargaining committee would endorse the contract only if the Company removed the language gutting seniority, the Company refused.

While there are good parts to the Company’s “Final Proposal,” most importantly the health care piece which moves us into the Vicinity Fund and keeps member contributions relatively stable, we are disappointed and angry that the Company felt a need to exact
a price for what it should see as a responsibility. Agreeing to properly fund employee health care only if Guild members are willing to give up the core principle of seniority is not the way to show appreciation for an award-winning workforce which has spent
more than a decade enduring layoffs, pay cuts, years of poorly implemented new technology, and a previous owner’s destruction of a once-great pension fund making it difficult for more senior employees to retire.

Seniority has served Guild members and this Company very well for over 60 years. It is objective and it survives different managers, different editors, different human resources directors and different ownership groups. We would hate to see it die when we
count the votes Wednesday night.

The Guild executive board therefore can’t endorse the Company’s “Final” contract offer and we are willing to get back to the bargaining table to negotiate a contract which is fair to our members and respects our principles. 

In Solidarity,

The Bargaining Committee:

Howard Gensler

Diane Mastrull

Bill Ross

With the unanimous support of the Executive Board:

Melanie Burney

Maggie O’Brien

Eric Churn

John Robinson

Pam Jackson

Donna Stokes

Jonathan Tannenwald