Chronicle Guild Unit protests Hearst stalling

Bargaining Bulletin #5
San Francisco Chronicle Unit

The Guild filed an unfair labor practice charge Wednesday against the Hearst Corp. after its negotiators again delayed meeting with our bargaining committee.

We consider Hearst’s repeated delays and cancelations over the past five months as acts of bad faith. Our health plan, governed by a joint management-Guild board of trustees, is bleeding $110,000 a month and draining its reserves to a critical level. Trustees face deadlines to begin open enrollment for next year. Hearst has flouted these deadlines. Options narrow as more time passes. The company is pushing us toward a crisis to advance its bargaining goals.

We have repeatedly expressed our concern to Hearst about the need to rapidly reach a new agreement. Hearst has declined to offer a single proposal or any serious response to ours.

We now face a critical one to two months. Hearst’s delays threaten to force emergency steps by our health plan trustees that could radically reduce benefits or spike our contributions.

Hearst’s response: “Do what you have to do.”

We will discuss the health care situation and status of our negotiations at a Chronicle Guild unit meeting at 5:30 p.m. Thursday (Sept. 13) in the North Beach conference room.

The Guild gave a comprehensive contract proposal in May. We scaled back demands in hopes of reaching a quick settlement and offered to contribute more than a third of the savings needed to bridge the $1.3 million annual health care deficit. Our proposal called on Hearst to modestly increase pay and vacation, increase its required Health and Welfare Trust contributions for the first time in six years, begin a 401(k) match or other retirement benefit, raise Go Team reporter pay and discuss advertising department reforms.

In Solidarity,

Chronicle Guild Bargaining Committee

Michael Cabanatuan, Editorial

Jon Ferguson, Editorial

Autumn Grace, Advertising

Matthai Kuruvila, Editorial

Carl Hall, Guild staff

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Michael Applegate

Pacific Media Workers Executive Officer