‘S.D. Union-Tribune’ Workers Vote to Affiliate with Teamsters

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By: Mark Fitzgerald

Eight years after San Diego Union-Tribune packaging department employees decertified their union, department workers have voted narrowly to affiliate with the Graphic Communications Conference sector of the Teamsters.

In a June 10 election supervised by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), packaging employees voted 96-83 to join the union, which was known as the Graphic Communications International Union (GCIU) until it merged with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters last year.

Last August, the same department voted against affiliating with the GCIU, but that vote was invalidated when the NLRB ruled on claims that some workers had been intimidated.

Union-Tribune spokesperson Carole [STET] Ravago said the newspaper did not plan to appeal this latest vote. “The next step will be negotiating with the [union] over wages, hours and working conditions,” she said in a telephone interview Tuesday.

The Graphic Communications Conference already represents about 145 pressroom employees at the paper, while the Teamsters represent circulation drivers, Ravago said.

In 1997, packaging department employees voted to decertify the Communications Workers of America (CWA), the union that, under different names, had represented them for 60 years, according to Ravago.

The Union-Tribune has had its ups and down with union representation over the years. After a bitter decertification campaign, editorial employees in 1998 voted to end their affiliation with The Newspaper Guild sector of the CWA, which had represented them for 61 years. At the time, the Union-Tribune was the 10th largest newspaper in the union’s fold.

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