Eight Unions Strike At S.F. Dailies p. 14

By: M.L. Stein EIGHT UNIONS REPRESENTING employees of the San Francisco Chronicle and San Francisco Examiner struck the two dailies at 10 p.m., Nov. 1, after down-to-the-wire negotiations with management failed.
The strike came after four days of around-the-clock bargaining and months of talks.
The union contract expired Nov. 1, 1993.
A man who answered a late night phone call at the San Francisco Newspaper Agency, which handles the business side of the two dailies under a joint operating agreement, declined to say whether the papers would attempt to publish during the strike.
He referred E&P to Jim Hale, the agency's president and CEO, who was not available at the time.
Hale said recently that, in the event of a strike, the morning Chronicle and evening Examiner would publish "one way or another."
He said the agency had conducted two practice runs in producing and delivering the papers with management and nonunion personnel.
In a statement, union officials, who represent 2,600 newspaper employees, said they were forced to strike because the employers "refused to make even moderately reasonable proposals on pay and working conditions."
"We put more than a year of effort into reaching an equitable settlement," said Doug Cuthbertson, chairman of the Conference of Newspaper Unions. "But the employers left us no choice. At almost every turn, they rejected our requests for a fair wage and job security of the workers . . . . "
The union had set a midnight Oct. 31 deadline, but as the hour approached Tuesday night, both sides agreed to stop the clock in a final attempt to resolve the dispute.
The unions said one of the key issues separating the two sides was management's demand for "potentially unlimited ability to make distribution changes that would eliminate full-time jobs by creating combination jobs that would load double and triple duties on Teamster drivers."
Other full-time jobs would convert to part-time slots with fewer benefits, according to spokespersons for the labor unions.
Management has said it was seeking more flexibility for the company in distribution jobs.
"The union proposals were in no way a reach for the moon," said Steven Chin, an Examiner reporter and spokesman for the conference.
"On every issue, we sought reasonable solutions," Chin said.
Picket lines went up around the papers and the union began production of their own weekly newspaper to be called the San Francisco Free Press.
Chin said some Chronicle trucks left the loading platform with newspapers before the picket lines were formed.
"They probably will get most of their papers delivered tonight [Nov. 1]," he said.
But Chin predicted the Examiner would not be able to produce the paper, much less deliver it.


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