Union workers with “clear eyes” save the San Francisco Chronicle.

Chronicle union agrees to contract concessions

Saturday, March 14, 2009

The 366 workers who cast ballots approved the revisions by a margin of around 10 to 1. If a majority of employees had vetoed the changes, management said they would have had to cut 225 positions represented by the California Media Workers Guild, Local 39521, with limited severance, to achieve the necessary savings, according to the union.

Carl Hall, lead negotiator for the Guild, said the outcome demonstrated a “clear-eyed attitude” among members hoping to protect workers and their families from a worse fate.

“This is the start of the real battle,” he said in a statement. “We have to find a solution, a real solution, to save what we really care about here – quality journalism and quality jobs.”

Chronicle management endorsed the Guild vote.

“As I’ve mentioned before, this agreement is critical to ensuring the survival of The Chronicle,” Publisher Frank Vega said in a statement. “I appreciate the willingness of our employees to work with us to make the difficult decisions that need to be made during these difficult times.”

Saturday’s agreement came 18 days after the Hearst Corp., owner of The Chronicle, announced that it would be forced to sell or close the 144-year-old newspaper if it could not achieve significant savings “within weeks” through a mixture of union and non-union staff reductions and other cost-saving measures.

The newspaper lost more than $50 million in 2008 and is on track to sink deeper into the red this year, Hearst said. The private New York company, which publishes 15 other papers, said The Chronicle has been losing money since 2001.

Other concessions in the collective bargaining agreement include elimination of seniority rights; reductions in vacation time, sick leave and maternity and paternity leave; expansion of the work week from 37.5 hours to 40; and the right for the company to subcontract any work.

The Guild represents 483 Chronicle employees, including 218 in editorial and 265 in advertising, circulation, finance, ad production and other functions. The union had recommended membership approval.

Saturday’s agreement is just the first step in Hearst’s efforts to achieve the hoped for cost savings. The company still must negotiate a deal with its other major union, the 420-member International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Local 853.




3 Responses

  1. Obama is such a jackass. He just did a press conference to say that peanut butter is safe. He said his daughter has a peanut butter sandwich 3 times a week. I’m sure he mean while she’s at school. but I’m not sure a peanut butter sandwich is on the menu at her school.

  2. who cares about the peanut butter, just make sure the arugula is safe!! 🙂

  3. I say the SF Chronicle — which I call the RAG is getting what it deserves — I hope it goes belly up — it endorsed the incompetent racists barry hussein over Hillary Clinton —– fucking losers

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