October 24, 2012
SAN FRANCISCO — After five months trying to negotiate a contract for workers at the San Francisco Chronicle, the Pacific Media Workers Guild said it is appealing for public and labor support to win a fair settlement with the Hearst Corp., the Chronicle’s New York-based corporate owner.
The key issue blocking progress has been Hearst’s refusal to pay its fair share of health care costs for 250 Guild-represented Chronicle workers. The company has repeatedly canceled or delayed bargaining, and has yet to make a complete economic proposal that addresses the health care financing.
Niesha Lofing, president of the Guild, announced that a rally will be held at Fifth and Mission streets outside the Chronicle building at 12 noon, Thursday, October 25th, to protest the company’s refusal to negotiate in good faith.
“The Hearst Corporation’s failure to bargain in good faith is disappointing at best and speaks volumes about its view of the workers on whom it relies for its profits,” Lofing said. “My colleagues at the San Francisco Chronicle deserve a respectful approach to collectively bargaining their contract. And that respect needs to start now.”
The Guild represents reporters, editors, graphic artists, office staff, sales and other workers. Hearst Corp. is a billion-dollar media empire which reported record revenues of nearly $4 billion in 2011.
The Guild agreed to contract concessions in 2005 and 2009 to stop Hearst from closing the Chronicle and throwing hundreds of union members out of work. Now, the company is refusing to help the Guild close a deficit in the health plan that provides coverage to Chronicle union members. The union has proposed a balanced solution that would include higher payments by employees and the employer.
Supporting the Oct. 25 rally in front of the Chronicle are S.F. Supervisors Jane Kim (Dist. 6), Christina Olague (Dist. 5), Scott Wiener (Dist. 8), and David Campos (Dist. 9); former State Senator John Burton and various union leaders.
The S.F. Labor Council’s Executive Committee endorsed a resolution fully backing the rally and the Pacific Media Workers Guild’s efforts for a fair contract. SFLC Executive Director Tim Paulson will be among the speakers.
The Guild has filed an unfair labor practice charge against Hearst for stalling at the table. The NLRB is investigating.