Sunday, January 16, 2011

Merc, BANG-EB Guild members OK new contracts

Guild members at the San Jose Mercury News and the Bay Area News Group-East Bay that call for five unpaid furlough days in the next five months in exchange for no layoffs during that time period, according to a statement from the union.

The vote at the Merc was 61 to 47. In the East Bay was 33 to 16.

According to the Guild, the contracts also call for a freeze on vacation accruals and "new terms for consolidating editorial operations while retaining separate bargaining units."

The statement from the Guild suggested union leaders weren't enthusiastic about the new contracts:
    Cost-cutting pressures have grown more intense as ad sales have slumped. But the large number of "no" votes showed union members are growing impatient with management's constant pleading for handouts. 
    On Wednesday, East Bay Unit Chair George Kelly said what's really needed is creative leadership, not more givebacks by workers. Although the economic downturn obviously has hurt newspapers, Kelly said management's biggest problem is its "poverty of imagination."
Both the Merc and BANG-EB (Contra Costa Times, Oakland Tribune, etc.) are operated by Denver-based MediaNews Group and owned by the California Newspapers Partnership, whose majority owner (54.23%) is MediaNews. The other partners are Gannett (19.49%) and Stephens Media Group (26.28%).

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

What good is a union when you get a deal like this?!

Anonymous said...

What explains the low turnout? In the EB unit, only a third of those eligible voted.

Anonymous said...

The low turnout is because the guild in its desperation to get the CCT workers to unionize gave all the grandfathered workers the option to not pay union dues in exchange for giving up voting rights. Of course, the vast majority of workers opted not to pay dues (and why would you in this economic climate?) In exchange the guild can claim X amount of members even though most of them either dont want the union or dont want to pay the dues.

Anonymous said...

The parent company filed for bankruptcy 9 months ago. Getting 18 months without a reduction in base pay isn't a bad deal, given the circumstances...

Anonymous said...

the word "bankruptcy" is misleading. what really happened is that MNG got a bailout with tax dollars. (the banks involved were all TARP recipients). now that its finances are solvent, it should be paying good wages.

Anonymous said...

Looks like Dean the Dream and his fiscal Boswell both got the boot from an unhappy group of lenders this week. Now the cuts will be coming in gaping gobs. Buckle up, folks. It's going to be a very rough ride.

Anonymous said...

MNG did not get a bailout with tax dollars. It filed for reorganization last March under bankruptcy laws, and the debts it owed to its creditors were written down from $930 million to $165 million.

http://newsosaur.blogspot.com/2010/01/medianews-bankruptcy-hit-hearst-hardest.html

Anonymous said...

Where do you think the banks got the money? The banks involved used TARP funds to write off the debts MNG was going to stick them with.

disgruntled former ... said...

MNG's major creditors were the Bank of America, which got $45 billion in TARP money, and the Bank of New York, which got $3 billion. Wells Fargo, a recipient of $25 billion, is also listed as a MNG creditor, but it is not believed that they held any significant amount of MNG debt.