Latest 0n Philly Negotiations: Asleep and Batteries

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By: E&P Staff

After a frenzied few days of almost non-stop negotiating, the two sides in the labor contract impasse involving the two main Phildadelphia dailies — The Inquirer and The Daily News — and the Newspaper Guild have pretty much taken the past day off. A Guild release today was titled: “A Day for Recharging Batteries and Shaping Strategy.”

On Tuesday, the two sides announced that they had reached agreement on “non-economic” issues such as seniority but various pay and other conflicts remain on the table.

Here is the latest Guild statement.

Newspaper Guild negotiators spent Tuesday recharging their batteries, waiting for word from the federal mediator to return to bargaining and shaping strategy they will use in talks with the company, scheduled for Wednesday.

?We have been told we will be meeting with the company tomorrow,? said Local President Henry Holcomb. ?We are waiting for the mediator to tell us what time tomorrow.?

Bargaining sessions on Saturday and Sunday totaled 26 hours, 14 on Saturday and 12 on Sunday.

Agreement on a number of non-economic issues were achieved over the weekend. The remaining major obstacle to a settlement is the company?s demand to take over and/or freeze pensions and to make no contributions whatsoever to Guild members? financial security.

Members have been informed that should a tentative agreement be reached on all issues, there would be a full explanation of the proposed contract at a meeting prior to a ratification vote. Guild by-laws require three-day notice before a ratification meeting.

When talks with the company resume, work at the Inquirer and Daily News will continue under the terms of the contract that expired at midnight Nov. 30, and which the Guild declined to extend.

A 12/4 Guild Bulletin reminded members, ?If we do not reach an agreement, we are ready to strike.?

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