By: Mark Fitzgerald

Papers Say Increased Circulation Means Higher Wages

by Mark Fitzgerald

Unable to bounce back from the big circulation hit they have suffered
during their five-year labor dispute, Detroit’s two dailies are
offering the unions a new deal: Help add 200,000 to the combined
circulation by next September and get a wage increase of more than 16%
over the next three years.

The combined daily circulation of Gannett Co Inc.’s Detroit News
and Knight Ridder’s Detroit Free Press fell from about 886,000
just before the July 1995 strike to 603,000 in the latest reporting

The Metropolitan Council of Newspaper Unions – which has continued
a circulation boycott campaign even after agreeing to end the strike in
1996 – said the offer was an ‘illusory’ promise that will not end
the long labor dispute. ‘We don’t think adding 200,000 in a year is
realistic. … I think it was more … posturing,’ said Lou Mleczko,
president of Newspaper Guild Local 22.

But Tim Kelleher, senior vice president of labor relations for the
joint agency that operates both papers, said that’s not what the unions
have been saying at the bargaining table. ‘They’ve been claiming right
along that they have thousands of [boycott signs] on lawns, and
hundreds of thousands of supporters ready to sign up when [the unions]
get a contract, so here’s a chance to do it,’ he said.

Without the circulation bonus, the newspapers are proposing to increase
wages 2% annually during a three-year contract.


Mark Fitzgerald ( is editor at large
for E&P.

(c) Copyright 2000, Editor & Publisher

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