Labor-Management Relations

By Dotinga, Randy | Editor & Publisher, August 21, 2000 | Go to article overview
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Labor-Management Relations

Dotinga, Randy, Editor & Publisher

Arrested development at 'Union-Tribune'

Chapter chief cited for trespassing

A squabble in front of The San Diego Union-Tribune's main office culminated in the arrest of a union president and growing tension over labor relations at Southern California's second-largest newspaper.

Meanwhile, the Union-Tribune chapter of the Graphic Communications International Union (GCIU) has launched its second advertising campaign aimed at persuading readers to cancel their subscriptions. The newspaper's pressmen have been working without a contract since 1992.

The 120-member GCIU chapter is one of only two unions left at the Union-Tribune; the other, the Teamsters, represents about 50 truck drivers.

In a series of employee-supported actions, three unions at the newspaper have been disbanded over the past several years. The largest, the local chapter of The Newspaper Guild-CWA, vanished after a bitterly contested decertification vote in 1998. The 406-378 vote was a serious blow to the Guild. Since 1976, none of its chapters at major newspapers had held a vote on whether to dissolve itself.

Critics said the San Diego chapter was unnecessary, costly and an impediment to merit raises.

The citizen's arrest of GCIU chapter President Jack Finneran came Aug. 10, a day after the newspaper fired him from his job as a pressman. The reasons for the firing have not been disclosed. Finneran said he was passing out fliers outside the Union-Tribune building with Jeff Alger, a union secretary-treasurer who had been suspended.

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