Updated at 8:50 p.m. with comment from Bill Ross, executive director of the Newspaper Guild.
Journalists at the Inquirer, Daily News, and Philly.com could vote as soon as next Wednesday whether to authorize a strike against the company.
Negotiators for the Newspaper Guild, which represents those journalists, said in a Wednesday evening memorandum that an impasse over seniority and health care costs continue, and that they will not extend the guild’s contract with the company when it expires this weekend.
“The company’s offer for main unit employees now stands at: No raises, higher healthcare costs for worse coverage and weakened seniority,” negotiators said.
“If we can’t reach an agreement, please check your email over the weekend regarding what to do Monday should the contract expire Sunday night and be prepared for a Strike Authorization vote on Wednesday or Thursday of next week.”
“Our negotiating team is continuing to work with the mediator and Guild to try to find solutions to the remaining issues,” Amy Buckman, a spokesman for Philadelphia Media Network, said in an email to Philadelphia magazine. PMN owns all three news organizations.
How realistic is a strike threat? “I’ve never seen the membership more mobilized in the 15 years I’ve been here with the guild,” Bill Ross, the guild’s executive director, said Wednesday night. He said guild members would “never accept” the company’s current health insurance proposal.
“They’re done making any type of concessions,” he said of his membership. “Our members won’t be able to survive if the company gets what it’s looking for.”
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