MediaNews Group has cut the pay of about 175 newsroom employees in its East Bay cluster of dailies by 5%, and a second round of cuts is coming in January.
Papers in MNG's Bay Area News Group-East Bay include the Oakland Tribune, Contra Costa Times, Fremont Argus, Hayward Daily Review, West County Times, East County Times, San Ramon Valley Times, Valley Times, Tri-Valley Herald, San Joaquin Valley Herald and San Mateo County Times.
MNG cut the pay of management and non-union employees in July. Newsroom employees reached a new contract in June, which prevented any reductions in pay until now.
The Guild said on its Web site that it met with company negotiators four times, starting Sept. 25. "Throughout, Guild negotiators pushed for explanations and received little satisfaction. We also pushed for a delay to allow for continued negotiations. By all indications, the company intends to move forward with a 2% to 6% pay reduction in October, followed in January by a second phase of the pay cut for some employees."
In January, the Guild is expecting MNG will cut the pay of those earning $50,000 or less by 1% and by 2% for most others.
The total amount of savings to be generated by the pay cut program comes to about $433,000 annually, the Guild said.
E&P quoted Jim Janiga, senior vp of hr for MNG's California Division, as saying the cuts were needed. "The newspaper industry as a whole is still having to deal with this transition," he stated. "We've still got to be reasonable and prudent."