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Tribune Contract Talks To Resume Amid Complaints Of Harassment

July 22, 1985

CHICAGO (AP) _ More contract talks are scheduled this week between the Tribune Co. and two of the three production unions striking the Chicago Tribune.

The company has sent letters warning more than 1,100 strikers from the three unions that it will hire permanent replacements if they don’t return to work, the newspaper reported Sunday. The unions walked out Thursday night but the newspaper has continued to publish.

″After your replacement has been hired, you are still entitled to have your name placed on a preferential-hiring list and to possible future recall,″ said the letters from Tribune president Charles Brumback.

The Tribune reported that the Web Printing Pressmen’s Local 7, Typographical Union Local 16 and Mailers Union Local 2 plan a letter campaign of their own urging union households to boycott the newspaper.

Negotiations between the newspaper and the Typographical Union broke off Friday, with talks scheduled to resume Wednesday, said Tribune spokeswoman Ruthellyn Roguski. Talks were scheduled today with the pressmen, she said, but no talks had been scheduled with the mailers.

Bob Hagstrom, president of the Pressmen’s local, expressed anger at the letters Sunday.

″We consider this harassment,″ Hagstrom said. ″We don’t think the Tribune knows what they’re doing. They’re just trying to harass our members.″

Roguski said the company’s letter to workers ″speaks for itself.″

″This is a logical approach for a company that wants to continue operation, and we are continuing to publish,″ she said.

A major strike issue is the newspaper’s demand for mandatory transfer of workers to new jobs when technology renders old positions obsolete. The Tribune wants to be able to retrain and transfer workers when necessary, Roguski said.

″The reason we’re putting so much emphasis on the transfer issue is we want these people to work for us,″ she said.

David Donovan, Typographical local president, said the union agreed Friday to accept a form of mandatory worker transfers but also requested a plan to compensate employees who decide instead to take early retirement.

The newspaper, the fourth-largest in the nation in Sunday circulation at 1.2 million, and the seventh-largest in daily circulation at 775,000, had not been struck since 1947.

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