Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Angry UPI Employees Pledge to Walk `Informational' Picket / to Protest Wage Freeze

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Angry UPI Employees Pledge to Walk `Informational' Picket / to Protest Wage Freeze

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON (UPI) - Members of United Press International's employee union plan informational picketing in several cities to express anger over UPI's proposal for a six-month wage freeze and other concessions, the Wire Service Guild said Wednesday.

A guild official said pickets would be set up during the lunch hour today in Washington, New York, Boston, Chicago and perhaps other cities.

""Many of our members have reacted to UPI's proposals with extreme anger, at best, and many of our units across the country intend to conduct informational picketing tomorrow to show UPI in the streets what they think of UPI's proposals,'' said Dan Carmichael, WSG secretary-treasurer.

""Informational picketing'' is an informal, public display of displeasure undertaken by union employees during off-hours and does not involve a work stoppage.

UPI, operating under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, asked employees Tuesday to accept a six-month freeze at salary levels 10 percent below wages of August 1984, to help the company stay profitable while it seeks a buyer.

UPI employees voted to accept a 25 percent wage cut on Sept. 17, 1984. All but 10 percent of the original wages has been restored in quarterly phases, with another 5 percent due July 1.

Other concessions sought by the company included asking the 900 union-covered employees to pay a larger share of medical coverage, accept a 10-month suspension in company pension fund contributions, return to a 40-hour work week, and accept cuts in severance entitlements.

UPI President Ray Wechsler said the concessions are ""essential'' to keeping UPI alive.

Carmichael said he believes employees ""are reacting angrily, most of all, to the fact that they already gave up millions of dollars and the company said it only needed help once to get over the hump.

""The company has violated that agreement and many other agreements,'' he said, ""and the company is seeking once again to take money from the employees when it is making plans for executives' pay raises to be funded from the employees. …

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