Labor Peace at ‘The Buffalo News’?

By: J.J. McGrath

The Buffalo (N.Y.) News and the Buffalo Newspaper Guild have tentatively agreed to a three-year pact that, among other things, would provide the Guild’s members with annual 2% wage increases, a signing bonus of $1,400 each, and a 33% boost in the yearly maximum pension benefit, to $40,000 from $30,000.

In terms of health-care benefits, however, the parties describe the deal in significantly different ways, with the Guild saying the News has agreed to pick up the cost of all health-care costs and the News saying the Guild has agreed to increased deductibles and copayments.

The contract first announced in a press release today by Phil Fairbanks, president of the local Guild, will be put to a vote by its 350 members Sept. 5. It would replace an agreement that expired July 31.

At the News, the Guild represents employees in the accounting, bookkeeping, credit, classified-advertising, customer-service, and circulation departments, as well as editors and reporters. The 47th-largest newspaper in the nation by circulation, the News (daily circulation 220,345) is owned by billionaire Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc.

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