Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Strike Settlement in San Francisco

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Strike Settlement in San Francisco

Article excerpt

Two-week strike at Chronicle and Examiner ends with ratification of a new contract that gives union employees $106 in weekly wage and benefits increases over five years

THE TWO-WEEK-old strike of the two San Francisco dailies ended Nov. 14, after negotiators reached a tentative settlement two days earlier, following intense bargaining into the early morning hours.

Most of the 2,600 employees representing nine unions ratified the agreement

over the weekend and began returning to work Monday morning. Teamsters workers completed ratification on the same day.

As E&P went to press, the janitors and vendors were voting on the settlement, which was expected to be approved.

The new contract gives employees $106 in weekly wage and benefits increases over five years. It also allows the San Francisco Newspaper Agency (SFNA) and its joint operating agreement (JOA) papers, the morning San Francisco Chronicle and evening San Francisco Examiner, to reduce the size of the 635-driver work force through attrition. This was an insistent demand by management.

Earlier, management negotiator Richard Jordan said, "We run one of the most overstaffed delivery systems in the country. Allowing it to stay that way will inevitably lead to the closure of the newspapers."

The unions had been working without a contract since Nov. 1, 1993. The Newspaper Guild alone represents 1,100 editorial and advertising employees at the agency and the two dailies.

Examiner editor and publisher Will Hearst praised San Francisco Mayor Frank Jordan for his participation in the negotiations. "We are grateful to Mayor Jordan," Hearst said. "He played an extremely important role in getting this resolved."

Jordan delayed a a trade trip to Vietnam to stay with the bargainers. And, even while his plane was in the air, he communicated with them by telephone. Federal mediator Clarence Washington reportedly also played a key role in achieving a settlement.

Hearst thanked "the people who stayed with us during this - the readers, advertisers and editors. Now we are going to focus our energies on bringing the Examiner back to readers, with the full set of reporters, photographers and editors...."

Anthony Newhall, associate publisher of the Chronicle, said he was gratified at the settlement, noting, "It has been a stressful time for management and employees. …

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