Guild Ousted At Union-Tribune p. 12

By: Randy Dotinga After four years without a contract, 52% of workers vote against union

MORE THAN HALF the members of the San Diego Union-Tribune's chapter of the Newspaper Guild-CWA voted to throw out their 61-year-old union.
If certified by the National Labor Relations Board, the vote will make Union-Tribune the largest newspaper to fire the Guild in at least 28 years.
Late at night on June 11, the newspaper announced that Guild-represented workers voted 406 to 378 to decertify the union ? a margin of 52% to 48%. The San Diego chapter represents 850 workers in news, advertising, circulation and accounting.
The last Guild contract expired in 1995, and the union and management have been at odds ever since, mainly over pay raises. Management has demanded merit raises, while the union has tried to retain traditional across-the-board raises.
Union members have not received contractual raises in seven years, though many received merit raises.
After the ballots were counted, union foes gathered outside the newspaper's headquarters, throwing their fists in the air and hugging each other.
"The Union-Tribune is a wonderful company. We just don't need a union here," declared Deborah Bell, who has worked in circulation and advertising for more than four years. "I couldn't think of a better place to work."
Union supporters huddled in their small office across the street and consoled each other.
"The interests of working people have suffered a setback," said business reporter Craig D. Rose, one of the union leaders. "People felt it's very difficult to resist a large cooperation, and in the short term it's better to submit than stand up for their rights. People felt a sense of futility." But Rose harbored no regrets, saying, "I truly believe we fought the good fight," he said.
The vote leaves about 180 Union-Tribune employees ? in platemaking and distribution, and the pressroom ? still with union representation.
Since 1989, Guild and management have been at loggerheads.The anti-union drive started in advertising, where merit pay enjoyed strongest support. Pro-union sentiment seemed most powerful in the newsroom, the source of most union leaders.
The campaign to oust the union was led by the Nashville, Tenn.-based management law firm King & Ballow.

?(Dotinga is an education reporter with the North County Times, Escondido, Calif.) [Caption]

?(Editor & Publisher Web Site:http://www. mediainfo. com)[Caption]
?(copyright: Editor & Publisher June 13, 1998) [Caption]


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