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TEAMSTERS CALL FOR CONGRESSIONAL INQUIRY INTO PITTSBURGH PRESS 'BAD FAITH' BARGAINING

TEAMSTERS CALL FOR CONGRESSIONAL INQUIRY INTO PITTSBURGH PRESS 'BAD FAITH'
 BARGAINING
 WASHINGTON, Sept. 30 /PRNewswire/ -- The Teamsters Union issued the following:
 Teamsters Union President Ron Carey today called for a congressional hearing to investigate the Pittsburgh Press Company's "hidden agenda" that has thwarted the union's attempt to reach a contract settlement with the management of the company.
 Carey said that the union has been in contact with Pennsylvania's U.S. Sen. Harris Wofford (D), who has expressed concern over the failure of the Press to come to an agreement with the Teamsters. Talks with the senator and other congressional leaders will continue in the coming days to determine the appropriate forum for action.
 In a final effort to resolve the differences between the two sides, Carey called on the company's negotiators to submit to binding interest arbitration. He proposed two names of veteran arbitrators to serve in this capacity: Sam Kagel and William Usery.
 Carey, who has been taking part in the contract talks since Tuesday morning, said: "Unfortunately, I am forced to conclude that the Pittsburgh Press has never wanted to reach an agreement.
 "Time after time the negotiations have neared the goal line, only to find that the company has pulled up the goal post and moved it farther back," Carey said. "We believe that the company is pursuing a hidden agenda. The company may be preparing the way for a buyer who is waiting in the wings. It may be trying to escape its legal obligation to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in order to drive its competitor out of business. Or it may have another agenda. It's time for the community to know what the company is really after."
 The Pittsburgh Press operates under a Joint Operating Agreement (JOA) with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the city's morning paper. The JOA gives the Press' management exemption from federal antitrust laws.
 In decisions favoring the union as recently as this past Monday, the general counsel of the National Labor Relations Board has charged the company with unlawful actions that precipitated and have prolonged the Teamster strike against the Press.
 The union, said Carey, has "bent over backwards" to respond to the company's claims that it needed to economize. The union accepted the concept of a distribution center. The union also was willing to accept the bitter pill of major job cuts, with protections for departing workers and a fair job package for the workers who would remain.
 These concessions would have saved the company an estimated minimum of $14 million to $15 million per year.
 In response, the company demanded an ever-changing range of concessions. New demands for concessions were made by the company as recently as yesterday in what the company described as a take-it or leave-it offer.
 The company also brought in strikebreakers at the rate of $1,100 a week to replace youth carriers who had been paid only 6 cents per copy. When the company forced workers out on strike, it even stopped health benefit payments for more than 200 retirees.
 The union has been an advocate for the community's interests in this fight. On several occasions, the union made comprehensive proposals to provide for the youth carriers who would be forced out by the company's plan, but the company rejected these proposals.
 The proposed elimination of good jobs by the paper has mobilized broad support for the strikers among the political, community and business leadership.
 "There have been many victims of the company's actions -- from the youngest in our community to the oldest," said Carey. "The community's citizens and businesses deserve to have a daily paper."
 -0- 09/30/92
 CONTACT: Nancy Stella or Matt Witt of the Teamsters Union, 202-624-6911 CO: TEAMSTERS UNION; PITTSBURGH PRESS COMPANY IN: PUB ST: PA -- DC040 -- X820 09/30/92
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Copyright 1992 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Sep 30, 1992
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