The NewsGuild of Greater Philadelphia

Changes to Severance Pay

July 26, 2010billrossGuild News

Dear Guild member,

Some members have asked for clarification on changes to Severance Pay under the tentative agreement reached between the Guild and PN Purchaser Co., L.L.C.

The severance benefits you accrued under the current and previous contracts remain. It is considered a pension benefit because the fund that was formerly used to pay severance was rolled into our pension plan in 2002. As of April 1, lump sum severance payments are not permissible because the United Independent Union-Newspaper Guild of Greater Philadelphia Pension Plan has been certified red for the 2010 plan year. Any severance payments are paid in a monthly annuity.

Under the tentative agreement the new employer would pay additional severance benefits to what you have previously earned only in the event of an involuntary layoff or termination without cause at a rate of one week’s pay per year of service with all employees being deemed new hires as of the effective date of the new contract.

The entire tentative agreement is posted on the Guild website, Except as modified in the tentative agreement, all terms and conditions of the current contract will carry over into the next contract. A ratification vote for the new contract will be scheduled after the Bankruptcy Court rules on administrative claims filed by creditors which is expected to happen shortly after an August 2 hearing. Attorneys for the new company are preventing it from entering into any union contracts pending a ruling from the court. The terms of the tentative agreement will not change from what has been announced to members and posted online.
In solidarity,

Dan Gross
The Newspaper Guild of Greater Philadelphia/Communications Workers of America Local 38010