Reporters from The Wall Street Journal picketed outside of the newspaper’s headquarters building Monday to protest the most recent labor contract proposals, including higher health care payments, from Dow Jones & Co. , the paper’s parent company.
About 35 reporters wearing placards with slogans including “Give us a fair deal” and “No pay cut” circled in front of the newspaper’s building in lower Manhattan beginning in late morning.
The union that represents Journal reporters, the Independent Association of Publishers’ Employees, has been working without a contract since the spring. Monday’s protests came after the company delivered what it called a “final proposal” on a new contract to the union last week. The terms include 3% annual wage increases for three years and a smaller hike in employee medical premiums provided the union ratifies the proposal by Oct. 15.
The union said in a statement that the protests were aimed both at Dow Jones management as well as the paper’s prospective new owner, Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. , which has agreed to buy Dow Jones for $5 billion.
Meanwhile, Rich Zannino, the CEO of Dow Jones, posted a note to employees Monday on an internal computer system saying that while the “main goal” of the News Corp. deal is to strengthen Dow Jones’ products and brands, “not by slashing costs,” he said: “Still, there will be some changes.”
“Where job cuts are unavoidable,” Zannino said, “we will communicate that as soon as practical and of course will provide all those affected with appropriate severance, benefits and other transition assistance in accordance with our severance policies.”
Dow Jones has said previously it may eliminate job functions that won’t be needed when the company is part of News Corp.
Signs depicting Murdoch have recently appeared in the Journal newsroom. Under the headline, “Show us the money,” the signs state that the current Dow Jones contract proposal would result in union-covered staff members getting a pay cut after considering the effects of inflation. The union is also protesting a proposal that would sharply raise health-care premiums.
Linda Dunbar, a spokeswoman for Dow Jones, said in an e-mailed response to a query: “We value our employees, both union and nonunion, and continue to negotiate in good faith.”
A spokesman for News Corp. declined to comment.