Guild Calls Ratification Meeting; Contract Not Done Yet
PHILADELPHIA (AP) _ Officers of The Newspaper Guild on Thursday called for a membership meeting to vote on a tentative agreement to end a 41-day strike against the Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News, even though weary bargainers were still working on final contract language.
Bill Barry, administrative officer for the 1,269-member Guild Local 10, largest of nine striking unions, scheduled the meeting for 11 a.m. Friday, according to the Guild office.
Leaders of the Teamsters and the pressmen’s union also called ratification meetings for Friday morning.
The Guild meeting was called without a formal announcement of a tentative agreement. The Guild, whose negotiators worked around the clock Wednesday and Thursday, was the only union not to have put into writing the ageements reached with Philadelphia Newspapers Inc.
The sticking point was how a wage and benefit package was to be broken down among the varying job classifications within the union, said Frederic Tulsky, president of Guild Local 10.
The Newspaper Guild represents editorial and advertising employees. Tulsky said the Guild membership decided before talks began to bargain for a flat- rate increase for all members in the first year of the contract, followed by a percentage increase in the remaining years.
″There is no formula right now,″ he said Thursday, before the meeting was called.
As the Guild talks continued, members of the other eight unions filtered back into the William J. Green federal building. They drank coffee in the cafeteria and talked among themselves, some wondering aloud about why a settlement announcement was being delayed.
After the Guild and the company agree on a contract, each of the unions must take the proposals back to their members for ratification. That could take two days or longer, said William Gullifer, president of the Council of Newspaper Unions.
Company spokesman William Broom said the newspapers could begin publishing the day after employees return. But if they return on a Friday, he said, the company would forgo a Saturday paper to begin work on Sunday editions.
While each union has its own pact, each of the documents share common ground. Each calls for an increase of wages and benefits averaging $150 a week over four years, union leaders said.
The strike, the longest newspaper walkout in the city’s history, began when employees set up picket lines Sept. 7.