Strike Settlement In San Francisco p. 11

By: M.L. Stein Two-week strike at Chronicle and Examiner ends with
ratification of a new contract that gives union employees
$106 in weekly wage and benefits increases over five years sp.

THE TWO-WEEK-old strike of the two San Francisco dailies ended Nov. 14, after negotiators reached a tentative settlement two days earlier, following intense bargaining into the early morning hours.
Most of the 2,600 employees representing nine unions ratified the agreement over the weekend and began returning to work Monday morning. Teamsters workers completed ratification on the same day.
As E&P went to press, the janitors and vendors were voting on the settlement, which was expected to be approved.
The new contract gives employees $106 in weekly wage and benefits increases over five years. It also allows the San Francisco Newspaper Agency (SFNA) and its joint operating agreement (JOA) papers, the morning San Francisco Chronicle and evening San Francisco Examiner, to reduce the size of the 635-driver work force through attrition. This was an insistent demand by management.
Earlier, management negotiator Richard Jordan said, "We run one of the most overstaffed delivery systems in the country. Allowing it to stay that way will inevitably lead to the closure of the newspapers."
The unions had been working without a contract since Nov. 1, 1993. The Newspaper Guild alone represents 1,100 editorial and advertising employees at the agency and the two dailies.
Examiner editor and publisher Will Hearst praised San Francisco Mayor Frank Jordan for his participation in the negotiations. "We are grateful to Mayor Jordan," Hearst said. "He played an extremely important role in getting this resolved."
Jordan delayed a a trade trip to Vietnam to stay with the bargainers. And, even while his plane was in the air, he communicated with them by telephone. Federal mediator Clarence Washington reportedly also played a key role in achieving a settlement.
Hearst thanked "the people who stayed with us during this ? the readers, advertisers and editors. Now we are going to focus our energies on bringing the Examiner back to readers, with the full set of reporters, photographers and editors . . . . "
Anthony Newhall, associate publisher of the Chronicle, said he was gratified at the settlement, noting, "It has been a stressful time for management and employees."
Agency spokeswoman Cynthia Myers said that the Examiner and the agency would be phasing in returning employees throughout the week.
"It will take us a while to get back up to full production and circulation," she added. Meanwhile, Myers said, the Examiner and Chronicle would continue to produce 32- to 38-page papers until Nov. 18, when they were expected to go into full production.
Chronicle spokesman Dean Church said the complete editorial staff returned to work Monday and was greeted by executive editor Matt Wilson, editor Bill German and managing editor Dan Rosenheim.
Several E&P calls placed to a recorded voice at union headquarters were unanswered.
"Everybody was happy to get back to work," Church said.
Doug Cuthbertson, chairman of the Conference of Newspaper Unions, the umbrella group for the strikers, was quoted in the Examiner as saying to union members: "The success of this strike will be looked upon as a rallying point for unions across the country."
Cuthbertson also praised Mayor Jordan for his participation in the talks.
The strike was marred by violence, including the death of a picketer by electrocution when he tried to cut power to an agency distribution center.
At one point, the company reported that three non-union drivers were hospitalized after they were attacked while trying to deliver papers. Five agency trucks were disabled, 20 cars vandalized, and one printing press sabotaged.
The unions said two picketers suffered injuries inflicted by plant guards and had to be hospitalized.


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