employees at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch to take a 23% pay cut over the
course of a new three-year contract, according to the union.
In an article posted on its Web site, the St. Louis
Newspaper Guild says the management proposal would cut wages 15% the
first year, followed by smaller cuts in each of the next two years. Lee
as a matter of policy does not comment on labor negotiations.
“The company also proposed contract changes that would
allow them to lay off employees for any reason and without regard to
seniority,” the article stated. “The company wants the right to suspend
employees for up to three days without ‘just cause’ or recourse through
the grievance procedure.”
Those are among the most dramatic of the sweeping contractual changes Lee is seeking, according to the Guild.
In addition, the management proposal would eliminate
paid maternal leave, and limit unpaid maternal leave to a maximum of 12
weeks, half the current maximum. Photographers would lose a share of
the sale of reprints, and access to company vehicles, according to
union. Lee is also asking the union to agree that a person on sick
leave can be fired after three months. The current contract gives
management that right after 18 months.
shareholders and lenders, it is important to note that the business
generated $207.2 million in operating profits last year on sales of a
bit more than $1 billion. Its operating margin of 20.1% surpasses that
of Exxon Mobil Corp., which generated a 19.1% margin in the last 12
months. And Lee’s profitability positively blows away Wal-Mart, the
largest Fortune 500 company, whose margins were only 7.4% in the prior
God almighty. The dishonesty of this conversation is staggering. Next week I’m going to two conferences/panels on the future of journalism, one here andone here [yes, I know the link to their own journalism survival discussion is broken, we’ve notified them, I include it as illustration], and hopefully they won’t both make my head explode.