Newspapers, Union At Odds Over Seniority

Dan Denvir reports that the Newspaper Guild believes that Interstate General Media—owner of the Inky, Daily News, and Philly.com—is trying to sneak a provision into the new contract that would let the company more easily fire older, more expensive journalists. He reprints this Guild memo from Friday:

From: Guild Bulletin []
Sent: Fri 1/25/2013 7:47 PM
Subject: We Thought This Was About Money

A daylong effort by the Guild to help the company reach its economic
goal blew up at 5 p.m. Friday when  negotiators from IGM made a proposal
to undermine seniority.

 The Guild had offered concessions to reach the company’s targeted
 savings, a key element of which was a buyout package. The company then 
stunned Guild negotiators by tying that buyout package to their 
seniority “poison pill” disguised as a performance review.

 The Guild saw no reason to meet over the weekend and bargaining will
resume Monday morning.

In solidarity,

The Guild Bargaining Committee

Bill Ross
 Executive Director
 TNG-CWA

That “poison pill” apparently was a performance review to accompany layoffs; the union, at this point, seems dedicated to protecting its older workers—with Ross telling Denvir the proposal is “fucking insulting.” So these negotiations probably won’t be that easy. So far, at least, the newspapers haven’t been liquidated.