Contract Talks Recessed After Progress Reported
PHILADELPHIA (AP) _ Negotiations recessed Friday in the weeklong strike against the city’s two daily newspapers, with one union reporting progress.
Federal mediator Robert Kyler, who had kept talks in session since Wednesday, did not schedule another round of negotiations in the walkout against the morning Inquirer and the afternoon Daily News.
Nine unions representing 4,774 employees walked off the job at 12:01 a.m. Sept. 7, with each union saying it would stay out until settlements were reached between all the unions and Philadelphia Newspapers Inc.
Issues remain unsettled between PNI and two unions - the Teamsters and the Newspaper and Magazine Employees Union, which represents mailers.
After settling with the two groups, PNI will bargain with the joint Council of Newspaper Unions on three non-economic issues and wages, benefits and health care.
Mailers spokesman Sidney Ginsberg said he was optimistic settlement was nearing ″because the company is bargaining in good faith, is listening and giving responsive answers.″
The central issue for the mailers, who assemble the newspapers, focuses on staff levels as PNI phases in $32 million in automated equipment.
The company has protected 194 jobs held by full-time employees, but the union wants the coverage extended to some of the 1,500 part-time jobs.
The Teamsters, who are negotiating four contracts, have not met with PNI since Thursday.
The three issues left for the joint council involve the company’s policy banning nepotism, PNI’s insistence on a clause forbidding sympathy strikes and the amount of time reprimands remain in an employee’s file.
On the economic package, labor has asked for raises totaling $200 over three years. PNI’s last offer, just hours before the strike began, was $90, although PNI President Sam McKeel has said the company is willing to offer more.