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National Guild Prez: Boston Deal Shows Union 'Can Push Back'

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

National Guild Prez: Boston Deal Shows Union 'Can Push Back'

Article excerpt

The Boston Newspaper Guild's success in negotiating a new contract with The Boston Globe after voting down a previous offer shows that newspaper unions can demand better treatment, according to Bernie Lunzer, national president of The Newspaper Guild.

"It does demonstrate that there is strength in bargaining," Lunzer told E&P a day after the Boston guild voted 366 to 179 on a new deal. "People can push back and management has to find constructive ways to engage workers. People are correct now to question what management is doing, to pursue more control over their futures."

The Boston guild's new deal includes a 5.94% salary cut, a one-week furlough, a pension freeze and health care cost increase. The previous rejected contract called for smaller benefit cuts and a furlough, but a higher 8.3% salary reduction.

"The local can proudly say that they made some improvements," Lunzer said. "There was more money in this deal, more money at the end of the day. The vote speaks for itself."

Boston is among the few guild locals in the past year to reject contracts that called for concessions. In many cases, from The Denver Post to the Lexington (Ky.) Herald-Leader, guild members have approved furloughs, pay cuts and various benefit reductions when management asked.

"People will take concessions and take less when they believe it is being done fairly," says Lunzer. "There is not a [guild contract] situation out there that isn't a difficult one. …

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