At least a hundred Chronicle Guild members and allies took a break together today at 3:15 pm to circle the Chronicle building at 5th and Mission in San Francisco.
We did this to show our solidarity and to help convince the Hearst Corp, which owns the Chronicle, that we are willing to fight for a fair contract. Hearst has offered small pay increases in each year of a four-year contract, but demands most of us endure even larger spikes in health care costs after moving into a Hearst-managed benefits plan.
Right now, our jointly run Guild plan is running a deficit caused by low weekly contributions from the company.
Chronicle publisher Frank Vega issued a message to Guild employees today before the workers took their mass break. We sent our own statement a short time afterward. We hope real negotiations resume soon, and have proposed dates in early April.
Today’s walk-around was the largest Guild event since a rally last October 25. Most members wore red — shirts, buttons, slacks, socks, ties — as they cheerfully strolled around the Chronicle building. “I walked around the building today and brought the corporation to its knees,” said long-time columnist Carl Nolte, a former president of the Guild. “The company needs to come up with more affordable health care.”
Today’s action comes on the heels of a successful Twitter campaign that Chronicle journalists engaged in on Monday. About 200,000 tweets and re-tweets went out from the journalists’ red square avatars. Read more about that by clicking here.