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Two Chicago newspapers complete negotiations.

The Chicago Sun- Times settled with The Newspaper Guild and The Chicago Tribune settled with the Chicago Typographical Union, a unit of the Communications Workers.

The Sun- Times, in its negotiations, initially sought a 3year contract calling for an immediate

3-percent wage cut, which would have been restored after 18 months, while The Newspaper Gu >;ild sought three wage increases totaling 19.5 percent. Although the newspaper was operating at a profit, it apparently wanted the wage cut because it was losing circulation and advertising to the larger Chicago Tribune, and also faced large interest payments on money it borrowed after it was purchased by an investment group.

The Sun- Times settlement was reached a few hours after a strike deadline, but the 250 reporters, editors, and photographers remained on the job, continuing The Newspaper Guild's st >;rike-free history at the 40-year-old publication. The new 40-month contract, which was retroactive to the June 1, 1988, termination date of the preceding contract, did not provide for a fi rst-year wage change. The employees will receive a $500 lump-sum payment and a 3-percent wage increase at the beginning of the second year, followed by an additional 3-percent increase at the beginning of the third year. Prior to the accord, reporters' pay ranged from $62 5 a week at hiring to $895 after 5 years of ser >;vice.

Other terms include company provision of attorneys to defend reporters against charges of libel resulting from their work; extension of maternity leave for female employees to cover adoptions; establishment of 2 weeks' paternity leave for male employees; and a new plan to finance child care with pre-tax dollars, subject to Internal Revenue Service approval.

At the Chicago Tribune, the settlement ended a dispute that began in 1985, when 240 printers walked out to protest management efforts to gai >;n greater control over hiring and assignments in the composing room. Under the 3-year settlement, negotiated with the aid of former Secretary of Labor William J. Usery, the 120 people still on strike have the option of a $30,000 cash buyout of their job and pension rights or a lifetime annuity of $500 to $570 a month and company-paid health insurance. Fifty printers still on the job after unconditionally returning to work in 1986 have the choice of a $30,000 buyout or remaining on the job under the new c >;ontract, which provides for an immediate $150 a week wage increase to bring printers' pay up to the $630 level at the Sun- Times. They will also receive guaranteed wage increases and possible automatic cost-ofliving pay adjustments in the second and third years. When these employees leave their jobs, they will be replaced by lower paid "typographical associates."
COPYRIGHT 1989 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1989 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Developments in Industrial Relations
Author:Ruben, George
Publication:Monthly Labor Review
Date:Feb 1, 1989
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