Guild members at the San Jose Mercury News and the Bay Area News Group-East Bay that call for five unpaid furlough days in the next five months in exchange for no layoffs during that time period, according to a statement from the union.
The vote at the Merc was 61 to 47. In the East Bay was 33 to 16.
According to the Guild, the contracts also call for a freeze on vacation accruals and “new terms for consolidating editorial operations while retaining separate bargaining units.”
The statement from the Guild suggested union leaders weren’t enthusiastic about the new contracts:
- Cost-cutting pressures have grown more intense as ad sales have slumped. But the large number of “no” votes showed union members are growing impatient with management’s constant pleading for handouts.
- On Wednesday, East Bay Unit Chair George Kelly said what’s really needed is creative leadership, not more givebacks by workers. Although the economic downturn obviously has hurt newspapers, Kelly said management’s biggest problem is its “poverty of imagination.”
Both the Merc and BANG-EB (Contra Costa Times, Oakland Tribune, etc.) are operated by Denver-based MediaNews Group and owned by the California Newspapers Partnership, whose majority owner (54.23%) is MediaNews. The other partners are Gannett (19.49%) and Stephens Media Group (26.28%).