THE BEACON JOURNAL Retirees Blog reports that the paper's guild has approved a strike authorization vote - with a lone dissenter - over stalemated negotiations on a contract that expired in July 2008. The paper's demands call for Draconian cutbacks, although the BJ Retirees Blog quotes the company's lead negotiator as saying the paper is not pleading poverty but doesn't want to pay guildsmen at current levels.
Here are the issues:
A 25 to 30 pct. decrease in wages and benefits with a 16.75 pct. pay cut, a pension freeze, a larger share of health care costs and a change to sick pay that the BJ Blog reports "would be worse than what WalMart offers."
The Guild is said to have shrunk to 85 members, which includes not only reporters but also everyone else in the news operation below the management level. Sadly, that number has fallen by more than half over the past decade. If , as claimed, it isn't poverty, who's kidding who in the front office?