Machinists’ Approval Ends ‘Pittsurgh Post-Gazette’ Labor Negotiations

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By: E&P Staff

On Sunday night, the last of the 10 labor unions representing Pittsburgh Post-Gazette workers approved its contract.

The machinists, the Post-Gazette reports, will make less money and keep most of their jobs, as was the case with the paper’s other unions in agreements that expire March 31, 2013. Changes affect provision of health care and manning requirements.

By helping meet rising costs, “these contracts will provide a big step forward on stabilizing the financial picture of the Post-Gazette,” the paper’s president, Christopher H. Chamberlain, is quoted saying. Among contract provisions are 5% employee contributions (to a maximum of $50,000 salary) for health insurance.

The company said it is offering buyouts “throughout the company” to avoid layoffs. It expects to eliminate approximately 100 jobs, according to Chamberlain, who said it will be year’s end before management knows where it will need to make cuts. Among the lost jobs will be classified ad takers, whose work will be outsourced. At the same time, however, the Post-Gazette‘s Ann Belser reported the newspaper will create a multimedia ad sales center.

Citing $27 in concessions in its 2007 contracts, Joe Molinero, president of the Teamsters local and co-chair of the unions’ Unity Council, is quoted saying: “This time we gave them approximately $18 million. In a short period of time we have given them $45 million in concessions. That’s a lot of money. However, all things being equal, we knew we had to do it.”

The unions realized the need to make concessions when the company opened its books, said Molinero.

Members of the Newspaper Guild of Pittsburgh CWA Local 38061 earlier voted to increase their hours by 7%.

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