Union at Dow Jones Hits Murdoch Victory, Urges Negotiations

By: E&P Staff

The Independent Association of Publishers’ Employees, Local 1096, which represents over 2000 Dow Jones professionals, quickly criticized the reported victory for Rupert Murdoch today in his bid to buy Dow Jones.

Early this afternoon, a statement emerged from IAPE President Steve Yount, declaring that the union is “disappointed with the apparent decision by key Bancroft family members to support the sale of Dow Jones & Company to News Corp.

“At the same time, no matter who owns Dow Jones going forward, IAPE
members — over two thousand strong — will continue to band together
to fight for their interests. That includes negotiating a quality collective bargaining agreement.”

IAPE had previously expressed concerns about the Murdoch takeover damaging the paper’s high standards and independence. Some staffers, however, have said that a News Corp. win might result in fewer layoffs, not more.

Official confirmation from Dow Jones on the deal is not expected until after the market closes at 4 p.m., according to inside sources.

“We were heartened that several prominent Bancroft family members
remain opposed to the sale on the grounds that it will irreparably damage the quality and independence of The Wall Street Journal and all Dow Jones publications,” Young added. “We hope their courage, and their commitment to news gathering independence, will impress upon Dow Jones’ new owners that the success of our products has always been based on a foundation of integrity and trust.

“The Independent Association of Publishers’ Employees, Local 1096,
represents over two thousand Dow Jones professionals who report the news, edit the copy, sell the ads, maintain the technology, build the
circulation and perform the many other jobs that make our publications the most respected in the world.”

Yount later told E&P that he urged News Corp. officials to start off their
relationship with workers in a positive way by helping to forge a good new contract and avoid a labor battle that could adversely impact the coming ownership transition.

“Does News Corp. want to have a fight with reporters at The Wall Street Journal while it is trying to transition?” Yount said. “Do they really want to have a very public and difficult bargaining session with the union? Now is the time for News Corp. to send a very clear message to employees that they value the contributions that employees make. It is not the time to come and start talking about slashing.”

Yount was referring to contract talks that began in November for the local. The union’s last contract, a three-year deal, expired in March and negotiations have been continuing. The most recent proposals have included a management offer of a three-year agreement with increased health care benefits and salary increases of 2.5% the first year and 2.75% the second and third years, Yount said.

The union has sought no health care benefit hikes, with raises of 7% the first year and 6% the second and third years, Yount said. “We are narrowing the gap some on money,” he added.

With the union having opposed the News Corp. purchase, Yount said he did not know if News Corp. would seek to retaliate in any way at the bargaining table. “I have no idea, I don’t know what News Corp.’s attitude is,” he said. “It certainly was never personal on the union’s part. We had some legitimate concerns.”

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