By: Kelvin Childs
Unionized Washington Post mailroom workers voted by a 2-to-1 margin to reject a five-year contract, the union said.
After the April 25 vote, the bargaining committee of Local 14201 of the Communications Workers of America, which represents some 600 Post mailroom workers, was trying to schedule meetings to revise the proposal, said union spokesman Greg Kenefick. “It’s within the Post’s realm to revise it or not,” he noted. A revised contract would face another membership vote.
Post representatives could not be reached for comment.
The 400 mailers and 175 helpers ? who operate equipment that inserts preprinted advertising fliers into the paper ? have been working without a contract since June 15, 1997.
The contract they rejected called for a total of $6,000 a year in pay increases, an additional week of paid vacation after 25 years of service, and 70% of health insurance premiums to be paid by the company, up from 30%. The proposal increased job security to full-time workers not covered by lifetime security pacts, while giving the paper the right to add temporary mailroom workers.
One sticking point, Kenefick said, was a management bid to exempt 50 supervisory workers from the bargaining unit.
Negotiations began in April 1997, and became fractious. Union members picketed the Post’s headquarters several times, and both sides argued their case in the media. Finally, a tentative agreement was announced April 9 (E&P, April 25, pp. 20, 21).
Kenefick, saying union leaders took the rejection in stride, added, “The will of the majority prevailed.”
?(E&P Web Site: http://www.mediainfo.com) [Caption]
?(copyright: Editor & Publisher May 9, 1998) [Caption]