Chronicle Guild members resist Hearst stall tactics

A video tour of the fabulous Hearst Corp. headquarters in New York shows a company that
treats some of its workers to subsidized sushi.  In San Francisco Chronicle labor negotiations,
we see another side of the media giant.  Video by Cubes.

Bargaining Bulletin #11
San Francisco Chronicle Unit

Hearst Corp. skipped negotiations again Wednesday, the fifth time the company has canceled or delayed bargaining since talks began in May.

The Guild already has brought a formal charge of bad faith bargaining to the National Labor Relations Board. Hearst claimed this week that it needed more time to study our latest comprehensive proposal. Maybe so. But in the four months since talks started, the company has yet to make a single detailed proposal of its own – and last week withdrew a key element of its first and only pay offer, a 1.5 percent raise per year for three years, before the ink was dry.

We are asking our members to respond. Please come to tomorrow’s meeting in the North Beach Conference Room beginning at 5:30 p.m. (Thursday Oct. 4) to discuss the situation.

Fairness is the core issue. Our health plan, which is run by a trust overseen by a Guild-management board, is running a deficit in excess of $100,000 each month. The trust’s reserves cannot keep covering the deficit much longer without an infusion of cash. Hearst recognized the “looming crisis” months ago, but the company’s New York lawyers want us to fix the problem to protect Hearst’s record profits.

Our members want to reach a fair settlement through the give-and-take of bargaining. But the company keeps canceling meetings, withdrawing proposals and offering lame answers. We must take action.

This may start with some things that seem trivial, even silly. But our actions will demonstrate the solidarity that is our key source of power and which will build potency as the company keeps playing ostrich. Black shirt day (get yours at the meeting Thursday). Rallies at Fifth and Mission. Outreach to allies in labor, government and nonprofits. Maybe even an organized appeal to advertisers and subscribers. Our campaign will start small, but will require bigger and bigger steps to send the message:

We are the Chronicle. We have sacrificed a lot to keep the enterprise going. But now, the health care and living standards of our families are at stake. We can’t sacrifice them.

We have cut pay and many benefits to keep San Francisco’s major news source alive.

Will we allow a multibillion-dollar New York media giant, whose gleaming Manhattan tower offers subsidized sushi and workout clothes in its corporate gym, to bully its San Francisco workers?

We are not begging for a raise to keep pace with the price of our cappuccinos. We’re talking about the survival of a health benefits system that has worked effectively since 1964.

Guild Bargaining Team: Michael Cabanatuan, Jon Ferguson, Autumn Grace, Carl Hall, Matthai Kuruvila and Kat Anderson.

Management: absent.

Author Image
Michael Applegate

Pacific Media Workers Executive Officer