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UPI agreement.

UPI agreement United Press International (UPI) and the Wire Service Guild signed a 30-month contract, covering some 530 editorial and commercial workers in 100 domestic bureaus nationwide. The new contract replaces one that expired last July. According to the union's chief bargainer, the agreement "provides employees with the job guarantees needed to continue their careers while providing UPI with further assistance in its turnaround efforts." The financially ailing news service has been in bankruptcy proceedings for the last 8 years.

Terms of the agreement provide for a wage freeze in the first year and 3-percent general wage increases in July of 1990 and 1991. These increases will bring the top minimum rates for news employees, photographers, and artists to $710.70 per week by the end of the contract, while telephoto engineers and radio engineers progress to $636.54, and photo printers and color technicians advance to $599.41. The contract also restores minimum daily and weekly mileage reimbursements at $6 and 30, a lower level than before. The mileage reimbursements were $8 and $40 under the prior contract before they were unilaterally eliminated. The mileage rate is also cut, from 36 cents to 26 cents.

Other terms include UPI paying 50 percent of any increases in health insurance premiums (previously, fully paid by employees), the preservation of talent pay differentials and "over-minimum" raises, an option for employees to use payroll deductions to pay union dues, establishment of a new long-term disability plan, and the union's dropping unfair labor practice charges against UPI for the company's alleged unilateral changes in mileage reimbursement and severance pay last October.

"Stepbacks" in the new agreement that are anticipated to provide cost savings to UPI include the loss of two paid holidays (from 12 to 10); longer length of service requirements to earn the fourth and fifth weeks of vacations (from 6 and 19 years to 8 and 20 years); a 40-hour workweek (previously, a 37.5-hour workweek was standard in all except the smaller news bureaus); a cut in the maximum weeks of severance pay (from 75 to 52); and a reduction in paid sick leave (from an unlimited number of days to 10 days a year for short-term illness and 26 weeks for illness exceeding 10 days).

"Developments in Industrial Relations" is prepared by Michael H. Cimini of the Division of Developments in Labor-Management Relations, Bureau of Labor Statistics, and is largely based on information from secondary sources.
COPYRIGHT 1990 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
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Title Annotation:Developments in industrial relations.; United Press International Inc.-Wire Service Guild contract
Author:Cimini, Michael H.
Publication:Monthly Labor Review
Date:Oct 1, 1990
Previous Article:Jobs guaranteed at Cummins.
Next Article:Grievance Arbitration: Issues on the Merits in Discipline, Discharge, and Contract Interpretation.

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