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Post Union Members Withhold Bylines

July 9, 1987

WASHINGTON (AP) _ The Washington Post looked a little different on Thursday as many reporters withheld their bylines from stories in a union contract dispute with the newspaper.

″We kept our names off articles to make a point, that we are not being treated right in labor negotiations,″ Post reporter Tom Sherwood said at a news conference outside the newspaper building.

He said differences between the newspaper and workers covered by The Newspaper Guild center on pay, changes in medical benefits plans and overtime. The guild members charged that the Post pay system discriminates against blacks and women.

The guild contract, which expired July 9, 1986 - a year ago Thursday - covers reporters, editors and other job classifications at the newspaper.

John B. Kuhns, vice president for personnel at the Post, said: ″We very much want a new contract with the guild and have been negotiating in good faith for 15 months now. On June 3 we made our last and best contract offer, which contains an economic package providing increases averaging between 4 and 5 percent annually.″

He said this offer ″compares favorably with guild settlements elsewhere and union settlements in the country generally. ... The Post pays good salaries and will continue to do so. Our average reporter’s annual salary is in excess of $50,000. However we can’t agree to unrealistic contract demands.″

The Guild has asked the Post to raise top-minimum pay from the current $664.50 a week. Sherwood said the guild proposal seeks an average increase of about $100 a week in salary and benefits over three years.

Sherwood said that while the paper’s Guild-covered staff continued working, reporters declined to allow their bylines to be printed in order to draw the attention of the paper’s management to their lack of a contract. He said the planned two-day byline boycott will continue Friday.

The Newspaper Guild contract covers about 1,100 editorial and commercial workers at the Post, of whom some 850 are members of the union.

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