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Unions Approves Agreement With Los Angeles Herald Examiner

March 8, 1989

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ The union representing reporters, truck drivers and janitors at the Los Angeles Herald Examiner has accepted by a five-vote margin a contract offer that includes a 14 percent pay increase over three years.

The Communications Workers Union voted 164-159 to accept the contract, and the results were met with cheers and moans when they were announced at the Hollywood-Roosevelt Hotel.

Voting occurred Tuesday during a six-hour, closed-door meeting.

″We almost had a riot,″ said reporter Deborah Hastings, who related that the anger was directed at union leadership for reaching the tentative contract just hours after union members voted to authorize a strike.

Graphic Communications Union negotiator David Grabhorn was at times pelted with dog biscuits, said reporter John Chandler. When the company’s final offer was described to employees, disenchanted workers urged negotiators to ″throw the bone back.″

″It was a zoo,″ Chandler said.

″Our mission now is to continue to publish the bright, lively and reliable newspaper our readers and advertisers have come to expect,″ said Herald Examiner chief operating executive John J. McCabe.

Reporter Alina Tugend said Herald Examiner workers will receive wage increases of 5 percent effective immediately, 4 percent the second year of the contract and 5 percent the third year of the three-year pact. The contract also improved health benefits for families of employees.

The union represents about 500 of the paper’s 800 union members. The union had compared the pay scale at the Herald Examiner, a money-losing operation for several years, to its sister paper in the Hearst Corp., the San Francisco Examiner.

Under the old contract, top-scale Herald Examiner reporters received $563 a week, compared to an $801 weekly salary paid to San Francisco’s top reporters.

The Herald Examiner’s circulation is 235,000.

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