The NewsGuild of Greater Philadelphia


March 12, 2020billrossInquirer

Dear Guild Friends:

WE HAVE A DEAL!!!!!!!!!

We are delighted to announce that the Guild and Company have reached a tentative agreement on a three-year contract that provides all of you additional money in each year.

This is the result of five-months of talks, yes, but mostly your unwavering support. Your solidarity demonstrated to the Company that we were in this truly together.

And now, together, you will share in what we have not seen from a contract in 10 years – MONEY.

The full tentative agreement, containing language that isn’t always easy to understand, is attached and must be voted on by you.

The highlights of this agreement, recommended by the bargaining committee, are:



YEAR 1: A one-time lump-sum payment in an amount equal to 2.5% of your current annual wage rate, plus a $500 signing bonus, all to take effect after ratification. (Part-time employees will receive pro-rated amounts.)

YEAR 2: A 3% across-the-board raise (NOT TO BE CONFUSED WITH THE LUMP-SUM PAYMENT IN YEAR 1). This is a raise, lifting your current salary. (Part-time employees will receive pro-rated amounts.)

YEAR 3: A 2% across-the-board raise. (Part-time employees will receive pro-rated amounts.)


The Company will continue its current obligation. That means if the annual premiums increase by up to 6%, the Company will cover all those increases. (For a little context, premiums over the last few years have not increased by more than 3%). Your current weekly contributions of $20 for single coverage, $50 for family coverage are not slated to change.


For the first time ever, our contract includes extensive language committing the Company to the recruitment, employment, promotion, training, and career development of a diverse workforce. This includes, but is not limited to, women, people of color, people identifying as LGBTQIA+, and persons who are diverse as to age and disability status.

The agreement calls for the creation of a joint committee to meet quarterly to review diversity and inclusion efforts. The first meeting will take place no later than 30 days after ratification. Each party will choose four members to serve on the committee.

Among the other key elements of this diversity clause is a commitment by the Company to promote open external Guild jobs with affinity groups relevant to those positions, conduct studies of the Company’s payroll to review equity in pay according to gender or race and ethnicity, conduct direct outreach and recruitment with colleges and universities that are minority-serving institutions, interview a diverse pool of candidates for external newsroom job openings when possible, and provide training to existing and new employees on issues of diversity and cultural competency.


As is currently the case, the Company must first offer a buyout before executing any layoffs. This agreement improves the amount of severance that would be offered in a buyout, increasing the amount to at least three weeks of pay for each year of service up to a maximum of 26 weeks, using Oct. 9, 2010 as the hire date. (THIS DATE IS ONLY FOR THE PURPOSES OF CALCULATING SEVERANCE PAYMENT. YOUR ORIGINAL HIRE DATE STILL RULES REGARDING SENIORITY.)

This agreement also improves on the length of time the Company will pay for COBRA in the event of a buyout – up to 26 weeks.


This contract restores a benefit lost to the newsroom only in 2009. See the attachment for the specifics. But in general, this guarantees that when a Guild person does the work of a supervisor in the newsroom, either during the week or on weekends, that person will get a boost in pay that is equal to 15 percent of the top minimum of the employees under their direction for the hours that person performed the added responsibility. (Told you contract language can get confusing.)


In an effort to help this Company fill open jobs quickly, the Guild is agreeing to shorten the required time frame for job postings from 10 days to 5. This is in recognition that in a tough industry such as this, it is in all of our best interests to be able to nab talent as quickly as possible.


In light of the coronavirus, we will not hold in-person voting on this collective bargaining agreement. Instead, we are asking you to reply to this email with a YES or NO vote AND YOUR NAME. YOUR NAME IS NECESSARY BECAUSE WE WILL NOT BE ABLE TO RECOGNIZE EVERY EMAIL.


YOUR VOTE WILL GO TO A DEDICATED EMAIL ADDRESS AND WILL ONLY BE SEEN BY THE GUILD’s ELECTION OFFICER. NONE OF US ON THE BARGAINING COMMITTEE WILL HAVE ACCESS TO THE VOTES. So, if you want to send us specific questions or comments (good or bad), send those separately to Executive Director Bill Ross at, who will share them with us.

Please know that you all deserve so much more for the difficult work you perform daily in an industry we all love but one that seems to find different ways to challenge us every damn day. Add to that list a pandemic.

Our course ahead will continue to be challenging. But as you all have demonstrated by displaying posters, wearing T-shirts, rallying on the sidewalk, and keeping tote boards up to date, this Guild doesn’t shrink from a challenge. We stand nose-to-nose with it and stare it down.

It’s an honor standing with you. Thank you for all you do.

In solidarity,

The Bargaining Committee

Diane Mastrull

Jonathan Lai

Amy Rosenberg

Bill Ross