Judge Says Washington Post Pay Dispute Must Be Arbitrated

Article excerpt

Judge says Washington Post pay dispute must be arbitrated

A pay dispute between the Washington Post and its Newspaper Guild local must be arbitrated, a federal judge has ruled.

The Post immediately appealed the decision by U.S. District Judge Joyce Hens Greene, who on summary judgment granted the union's motion for arbitration.

The union wants an arbitrator to decide the question of higher pay scales for 20 assistant librarians whose pay level was not resolved by a 1989 union contract. The Post says it never intended the pay scales to be subject to arbitration.

In a letter accompanying the 1989 contract, management agreed to review pay scales for job titles not upgraded as a result of negotiations, among them assistant librarians. The court case revolves around the question of whether the pay scales fall under the arbitration provision in the contract.

"[I]t is clear from the contract provisions and discussions at the bargaining table that this dispute is covered by the agreement's arbitration provision," Greene wrote in a 10-page decision.

The union argues that the librarians, who help reporters with research, should be paid on par with reporters.

"What used to be a morgue is now a state-of-the-art data retrieval system with access to hundreds of data bases, and [librarians] work closely with reporters," said Lance Compa, Washington-Baltimore Newspaper Guild Local 35 administrative officer. …