Hearst offers next to nothing in Chronicle talks

Bargaining Bulletin #8
San Francisco Chronicle Unit

Hearst Corp. finally offered its first detailed contract proposal Thursday, four months after bargaining started, suggesting all we need is a 1.5 percent pay raise in each of the next three years to solve all our problems.

The proposed 1.5 percent annual pay raises would generate about $800,000 over the proposed three-year term – barely enough to cover half of each year’s annual deficit in our current health care program.  That is, if we decide to forego the skimpy raises, and use that money instead to keep the health care plan afloat, it would still keep sinking.

The company offered no new retirement benefit or 401(k) match, no better vacation benefit, and no changes in Advertising Department provisions, as we have proposed.

Our bargaining team is proposing 4 percent raises in each of the next three years, which would be barely enough to keep take-home pay stable and fix the health care problem, assuming we will need to make painful cuts in benefits along the way.  We also are demanding a 5 percent match on our 401(k) contributions. Guild members, unlike the management, get no match, and we accrue no other retirement benefit. The company promised an alternative health care program but delivered virtually nothing – other than a summary of one Connecticut-based insurance company’s ultra-cheap offerings, if we could be persuaded to dump Kaiser and Health Net.

We are working hard to make sure we consult with everybody in the workplace as these talks progress. Our members have been expressing growing outrage over Hearst’s stalling and refusal to negotiate in good faith toward a fair contract resolution.  A membership meeting will be held next week. Details will be announced soon.

Trustees of the Media Guild Health and Welfare plan met Tuesday for a bargaining update and to review Hearst’s summary about the cheap-insurance options.  The trustees made no decisions but asked the plan’s consultant to seek more information. New financial projections show some welcome improvement in the outlook and indicate the health trust’s current reserve stands around $2 million.  Also, two Guild trustees, Debra Saunders and Victoria Colliver, announced that they had resigned from the board.  The Guild appointed Kathleen Anderson to fill one of the vacancies and intends to appoint the second trustee soon. Guild Executive Officer Carl Hall is also a trustee.

Bargaining continues Friday in San Francisco beginning at 10 am in the Guild conference room on the 3rd floor. Talks are also scheduled for Monday and Tuesday.

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

Management: Carolene Eaddy, Aryn Sobo, Cathy Rommelfanger, Suzy Cain.




Author Image
Michael Applegate

Pacific Media Workers Executive Officer