Three months after Dean Singleton’s MediaNews acquired control of the Mercury News, management is now proposing to cut the pay of new hires by 30 percent and raising the wages of existing employees by 1 percent next year and 0.5 percent in 2008, according to a Bargaining Bulletin from the union. The last pay raise Merc workers got was in January. Under the proposal, new reporters and photographers would earn a minimum of $43,509 a year when they reach three years’ experience. Under the current contract, the same employee would make at least $63,941. In addition, MediaNews wants to require current employees to pay up to $7,362 more a year for health care and retirement. The company also is proposing that employees work for one year without earning vacation time. MediaNews has told the union that if it doesn’t accept the proposal by Nov. 30, 101 employees will be laid off on Dec. 5, including 40 people from the newsroom. In addition to the 101 positions already on the block, MediaNews has said it will eliminate another 116 jobs — these in advertising and in the business office — in March if the union doesn’t accept the proposal. “[T]he company has now framed the discussion to say that any attempt by the Guild to avoid concessions translates into more layoffs,” Guild leader Luther Jackson wrote in the Bulletin. [East Bay Express: Big Wage cuts at MediaNews ‘Crown Jewel’] [MediaNews threatens more job cuts in California] [PPC, Oct. 20: Merc to layoff 101 employees, 8.5% of staff]

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