Philly Newspapers Guild Agrees to Pay Cuts

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By: E&P Staff

The company formerly known as Philadelphia Newspapers just moved one step closer to a fresh start.

The Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News report today that the Newspaper Guild, the largest of the unions representing workers at the two newspapers, on Tuesday night voted for a package of wage concessions to help bring the newspapers out of bankruptcy under its new ownership.

The union voted 287-38 to accept annual pay reductions totaling about 6%, the Daily News reports — a 2% cut in base pay and two weeks of unpaid furlough. The approved three-year contract would keep safe the jobs of unionized reporters, editors and advertising staff for the next year.

About two-thirds of the union members participated in the vote.

New publisher/CEO Greg Osberg, speaking to E&P in June, was confident a new contract could be reached with the two papers’ unionized workers. “There is an understanding of the economic and industry challenges that we all are facing,” he said. “I am hopeful that we’ll be able to arrive at agreements that will allow us to move forward with the financial stability necessary to begin building the most successful local media company in the country.”

The company will operate under a new name — the Philadelphia Media Network.

Boasting more than 500 full- and part-time members, the guild was the first of the papers’14 bargaining units to agree to contract terms with the new owners, a group of senior creditors that in April struck a deal to pay more than $130 million to buy the newspapers and their Website.

While leaders of the smaller unions have tentatively agreed to wage reductions similar to the Guild’s, at least one major union, Teamsters Local 628, representing 435 drivers, building-service and security personnel, has balked at a proposed change in pension benefits that would end company contributions to the Teamsters’ defined-benefit plan, the Daily News reported.

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