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TEAMSTERS RATIFY CONTRACT WITH NEW PITTSBURGH PRESS OWNERS; CONTRACT PROVIDES JOB SECURITY MEASURES, PROTECTS RETIREE BENEFITS

 WASHINGTON, Nov. 30 ~PRNewswire~ -- In a nearly unanimous vote, members of Teamsters Local Union 211 yesterday approved a five-year contract with Blade Communications, the prospective buyer of the Pittsburgh Press.
 Teamster President Ron Carey said the agreement is "good for the Teamsters, good for the company and good for the community."
 "This contract protects the lives and futures of people throughout the community," Carey continued. "It provides working people with more job security and better pay, gives retirees added benefits and assures that the community can once again have daily newspaper service."
 The ratification vote completed yesterday, along with the contracts approved by the nine other unions at the paper, removes a major obstacle to the Justice Department approval of the paper's sale to the Toledo, Ohio-based Blade Communications. Blade currently owns the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, which is published under a joint operating agreement with the Press.
 Earlier this week, Carey sent a letter to Attorney General William Barr asking him to expedite the review process in order to let the purchase go forward. It is time, Carey's letter said, to return the "workers to their work and newspaper service to the community," which has been without its two major daily papers during the six-month strike.
 The signing resolves the issues in the strike that began in mid- May, when contract talks between the Teamsters and Scripps-Howard, the current owner of the Press, broke down over the company's failure to engage in serious bargaining.
 Among the key elements in the approved five-year contract are:
 -- A lump sum bonus of $1,000 for 1993.
 -- Wage increases of $108 per week over years two through five of the contract.
 -- All distribution functions will be carried out by Teamsters and may not be contracted out to non-union personnel.
 -- Lifetime health insurance benefits for retired members and their spouses.
 -- Effective immediately, retirement benefits will be increased by $100 per month.
 One of the most difficult issues on the table was the company's proposal to cut jobs. Under the contract signed yesterday, the parties worked out a detailed plan that would control job losses. Even if the company combines the two papers into one Pittsburgh daily, the number of jobs eliminated will be no greater than 260 out of the current 627.
 At the same time, the contract provides generous retirement incentives and strengthens bidding rights for those displaced by the sale and reorganization of the paper. At age 57, employees are eligible for early retirement with an incentive bonus and with health and welfare benefits for life.
 Workers not eligible for early retirement who are involuntarily laid off will receive a monetary package that will enable them to preserve their dignity and their family's security through the period following the lay-off. They will also retain their recall rights for the duration of the agreement.
 ~delval~
 -0- 11~30~92
 ~CONTACT: Nancy Stella or Matt Witt of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, 202-624-6911~


CO: International Brotherhood of Teamsters ST: District of Columbia, Pennsylvania IN: SU:

DC -- DC002 -- 4027 11~30~92 09:02 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Nov 30, 1992
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