New Votes Scheduled To End Newspaper Strike
PHILADELPHIA (AP) _ Teamsters drivers, whose narrow rejection of a tentative contract agreement last week prolonged the city’s six-week-old newspaper strike, will vote again on the pact Tuesday.
Officials said many other unions - including the pressmen, commercial pressmen, porters, machinists and garage mechanics - had voted in favor of the four-year contract Friday.
According to many union officials, word of the ratifications were not publicized because the votes placed the approving unions at odds with the Teamsters drivers, who turned down the pact by 175-163 Friday.
Before the strike began, each union had agreed that none would return to work unless all accepted their contracts. In all, 4,774 employees from nine unions are on strike against Philadelphia Newspapers Inc., which publishes the morning Inquirer and afternoon Daily News.
The strike entered its 45th day Monday.
Besides the drivers, one union, the typographers, also announced Friday that it voted down the pact. The Newspaper Guild and the mailers postponed their votes and rescheduled them for Tuesday.
Like the Teamsters, the typographers scheduled a second vote for Tuesday.
While the unions’ pacts are different, each calls for an increase of wages and benefits over four years amounting to an average $37.50 weekly gain.
The new drivers’ vote was scheduled because of poor participation in the first vote and because many members appeared not to understand the proposal, said William Gullifer, business manager of Teamsters Local 628.
″There were a number of members, for whatever reasons, who were not present at that meeting. In addition, we certainly feel by the questions we’ve been getting that there were an awful lot of members who may or may not have fully understood a number of items that were discussed,″ he said.
Tom Gallagher, business manager for the pressmen, Local 16, said Monday that his members voted by a margin of about 8-1 in favor of the pact. The vote was taken before the Teamsters drivers’ rejection was announced.
More than 80 percent of the 500 pressmen participated, but the vote was put on hold because ″We had told the company that if we all didn’t ratify, none of us were coming back,″ Gallagher said.
An official who participated in all of the negotiations, speaking on condition that he not be identified, said the pressmen Local 16, commercial pressmen Local 4, machinists Local 1, garage mechanics Local 724, and the porters all overwhelmingly ratified their pacts Friday.
The newspapers’ management made no effort to get the approving members’ unions back to work because ″we have not been informed by the unions or the mediator that the votes took place,″ said spokesman William Broom.
PNI has said it would try to publish a newspaper the day after the employees return to work. The Inquirer has a circulation of 1 million on Sundays, with 519,621 on weekdays, and the Daily News has a circulation of 284,253.