Newspaper Guild Reaches The Most Meh Deal Anyone Could Expect To With Inky & DN Ownership

For those of you following the ongoing negotiations between the Newspaper Guild and Interstate General Media, the current ownership of Philly’s two dailies: There is news! It is meh! But at the very least, it is not the massive chopping block many had feared. Rather, more slow chipping away, more glacial rot. The tentative agreement between Guild members and The Groovie Ghoulies includes the following guarantees:
· DN keeps publishing for 6 days a week, Inky keeps crappin’ up the place for 7, for at least these next two years
· No Guild layoffs for one year

In return, the Guild takes a 2.5% pay cut, and that much-discussed employee review program went through after all, even though there’s specific language that basically says, “Hey, we’re not doing this because you’re old, OK?” But, um, speaking of The Olds, there will also be “a one-time Economic Transition Fund to provide an enhanced voluntary separation program to Guild newsroom employees with thirty (30) or more years of service.” Ahem.

Memo from the Guild after the jump.

From: Guild Bulletin [mailto:GuildBulletin@local-10.com]
Sent: Thursday, January 31, 2013 8:05 PM
Subject: NEWSPAPER GUILD REACHES TENTATIVE AGREEMENT ON NEW TWO-YEAR CONTRACT

On January 31, 2013, the Newspaper Guild Bargaining Committee reached a tentative agreement for a new two-year contract to begin at ratification. Although this contract was bargained early to forestall possible threats to the future of the company, upon ratification, the company will be contractually obligated to print both papers as daily papers (7 days a week for the Inquirer, 6 days a week for the Daily News) for the duration of this two-year contract.

In addition, the company agreed that for the first year of the contract, there will be no layoffs of Guild members.

There will be a pay cut of 2.5% for 2013 which will continue in 2014. There will not be an additional pay cut in 2014. If the company turns things around, Guild members will be eligible for profit-sharing in 2014 and going forward. (The 2.5% cut does not apply to commission sales reps.)

The $10 car allowance for the handful of Guild members who still get it, will be eliminated. Please put in your mileage.

The Guild’s parking grievance was dropped in return for a lower pay cut.

Beginning in six months to a year, the company will start an annual employee review program, in order to give feedback to employees on their job performance. It will be company-wide and will not be used as a mechanism to fire longtime employees. If a review session becomes disciplinary in any way, Guild members are entitled to have a shop steward or Guild officer or Bill Ross in the meeting with them. The Guild retains all rights to grieve and/or arbitrate any dismissals deemed in violation of the contract.

There will still be two furlough weeks (except at philly.com). Commission sales reps will still have 6% of their commissions withheld in lieu of the furloughs.

The good stuff:

The company agreed to a one-time Economic Transition Fund to provide an enhanced voluntary separation program to Guild newsroom employees with thirty (30) or more years of service. Details about that program will be coming from the company tomorrow (2/1) or Monday (2/4).

Vacation, sick time and 401K match provisions do not change.

Seniority was not touched.

A ratification vote will likely occur next week. Details to come.

Thank you for your patience during these difficult times. The Guild is grateful for the widespread support we received from the community and organized labor.

The Newspaper Guild Bargaining Committee

Bill Ross

Howard Gensler

Diane Mastrull

Cindy Burton

Melanie Burney

Vernon Clark

Regina Medina

Madeleine O’Brien (advertising)

John Robinson (advertising)

Eric Churn (circulation)

1/31/13