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BEACON JOURNAL ANNOUNCES AGREEMENT WITH TEAMSTERS UNION

 AKRON, Ohio, July 15 /PRNewswire/ -- The Beacon Journal announced Thursday that it had agreed to a new contract with units of the Teamsters Union representing drivers, district managers and other employees involved in the distribution of the paper.
 Union leaders notified the newspaper that the four-year contract was ratified by their members in a meeting Thursday evening.
 The contract was called significant by Beacon Journal spokesperson Mindy Aleman, who said it would give the company new flexibility that will aid in the distribution of the newspaper.
 "Ultimately, the big winner in this agreement will be our subscribers and advertisers," Aleman said. "The new contract provides for greater flexibility, which will allow us to improve customer service. That was an extremely important goal for the company to achieve in the bargaining process."
 The key provisions of the contract, Aleman said, included:
 -- Flexibility in starting times for the distribution force;
 -- Flexibility in the work week;
 -- Elimination of work-rule restrictions that made the distribution of the paper inefficient and costly.
 The contract also provides for many improvements for the work force, Aleman said, including:
 -- A $25 weekly pay increase each year, along with a $5 weekly productivity increase;
 -- An $1,200 productivity bonus;
 -- An improvement in the Teamster pension plan;
 -- A continuation of the current health plan for active employees, some of the cost of which will be offset by a return to the company of profits on single copy sales in newspaper racks. (Currently, the Teamsters share in the profit from those sales.)
 Aleman said the new work-rules were important for the company because they bring the Beacon Journal distribution system more in line with standards found elsewhere in the industry.
 One of the key elements leading to the successful conclusion of negotiations involved the company's decision to drop its unit clarification action, under which it had sought to have the National Labor Relations Board declare district managers as supervisors and, thus, ineligible for union membership.
 That decision to drop the action made most of the progress on work- rule improvements possible, Aleman said.
 "We said early in the negotiations that if we were able to achieve the relief we needed to make our distribution system more efficient, we would not continue to pursue the unit-clarification proceeding," Aleman said.
 The contract also provides that future Teamster retirees would receive a prescription card that would provide them with prescriptions for a maximum cost of $5.
 Aleman noted that the Beacon Journal now has concluded contracts with three of its unions, including the Teamster drivers, and district managers, the paperhandlers and the printers.
 Negotiations are scheduled to resume with the Guild, Mailroom employees and press operators next week. Negotiations are scheduled to resume with the engravers on July 27.
 -0- 7/15/93
 /CONTACT: Mindy Aleman, director of research & promotion of The Beacon Journal, 216-996-3160, or fax 216-996-3067/


CO: The Beacon Journal ST: Ohio IN: PUB SU: CON

LD -- NY113 -- 2295 07/15/93 22:15 EDT
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Date:Jul 15, 1993
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