Detroit Newspaper Unions OK Contract With Cuts

By: E&P Staff

The Detroit News 

Members vote for pay cuts, higher costs for health care benefits in tough economy.

The Metropolitan Council of Newspaper Unions ratified a contract Sunday that calls for 4.5 percent to 6.5 percent wage cuts and concessions on health care costs. The two-year contract affects about 900 employees at The Detroit News, Detroit Free Press and Detroit Media Partnership, the agency that oversees business operations for both newspapers.

“They were not happy with the circumstances of what they were agreeing to, but they understood the reality of the tough economic environment for the newspapers,” said Lou Mleczko, president of the Newspaper Guild of Detroit, one of the unions involved in the vote.

The contract was the product of intense negotiations since summer and comes as both newspapers are losing circulation and struggling to make money. In recent years, the papers instituted staff reductions, wage freezes and furloughs, and reduced home delivery to cut costs.

The wage cuts will take effect today – a 4.5 percent cut for those who make less than $35,000 a year and 6.5 percent for those who make $35,000 and more.

Wages will be frozen the second year. Changes to health insurance, which include higher co-pays and higher deductibles, will go into effect Jan. 1.

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