UPDATE: Newspaper Journos Agree to Temporary Contract Extension
Updated with comment from the Newspaper Guild.
A possible strike by Philadelphia’s newspaper journalists has been averted, for at least a month: The union that represents them and Philadelphia Media Network, the company that owns the Inquirer, Daily News, and Philly.com, have agreed to extend their expiring contract to June 27. The contract had been set to expire Saturday night.
The announcement came from Amy Buckman, a spokeswoman for PMN. Officials with the Newspaper Guild said in a memorandum to members that they would not be inclined to grant another extension — and indeed, said they expect to hold a strike authorization vote the first week of June.
“We plan to hold a strike-authorization vote the week of June 1, date depending on space availability,” Guild officials said the joint memorandum. “Guild bargainers will be meeting with International Guild and CWA officers the week of June 8 in Detroit to advance strike preparations.”
But on Friday afternoon, at least, company officials were holding out hope that the latest more extension — there have been several since the contract originally expired in February — might lead to a resolution. “The management of PMN is hopeful this additional time will result in an agreement that is in the best interest of all parties involved,” Buckman said in an email to journalists.
The full Guild memorandum below:
Subject: GUILD BULLETIN: THEY GOT NOTHING NEW
Because of the “low performance” of the company’s negotiators, Guild bargainers spent a beautiful Friday accomplishing little at the Federal Mediation Office.
We countered the company’s latest proposal as the contract deadline of midnight Saturday neared. The company was unable to respond to our counter or provide any new details on their plan to gut your health care.
We agreed to a contract extension to June 27, making it very clear we expect significant movement from the company well before then – we meet again next Friday – and that we are not inclined to extend beyond that.
In the meantime, we plan to hold a strike-authorization vote the week of June 1, date depending on space availability. Guild bargainers will be meeting with International Guild and CWA officers the week of June 8 in Detroit to advance strike preparations.
Please show your continued support by displaying stickers in your work area. We will be contacting you soon about other actions. Have a good weekend.
PS: The health care plan will continue through the extension without any changes to benefits or the rate you pay. The Health & Welfare Fund will continue to bleed the money.