Lee Enterprises newspaper in Wyoming votes to unionize

Feb 20, 2018 by

The United Media Guild salutes employees of the Casper Star-Tribune for seeking representation from the NewsGuild.

The Star-Tribune has absorbed staff cut after staff cut ordered by its parent company, Lee Enterprises. Journalists realized they needed to gain a strong voice in their newsroom.

“We appreciate some of the benefits of being part of a large media corporation,” the organizing committee stated after filing for an election with the National Labor Relations board. “However, Lee Enterprises’ obligations to its shareholders often clash with the interests of our readers in Casper and Wyoming, who rely on the Star-Tribune for vital news and information.

“Organizing the newsroom is our way – as journalists dedicated to the communities we cover – to strengthen the local control over Wyoming’s largest media organization.

“Negotiating a collective agreement for the Star-Tribune’s newsgathering staff will allow us to create more stable reporting jobs in Wyoming, attract more experienced journalists and incentivize them to stay longer. It will also allow us to have a voice in the event of future layoffs or cost-cutting measures. Finally, it will enable us to speak directly to our readers so that any business decisions by Lee Enterprises that hurt Wyoming will not go unnoticed.”

The UMG can appreciate Casper’s concerns. We represent employees at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the largest newspaper owned by the Davenport, Iowa-based Lee Enterprises.

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UMG negotiates raises, increased benefits at Jobs with Justice

Feb 20, 2018 by

The United Media Guild achieved many economic gains with its tentative three-year agreement with Missouri Jobs with Justice.

“The staff of Jobs with Justice works very hard to advance the rights of workers,” unit chair Richard von Glahn said. “Having an employer that recognizes and values that work only drives us to work even harder and build JWJ into a successful and powerful organization.”

Business representative Shannon Duffy and von Glahn negotiated the new contract which, if ratified this week, will include:

  • A new minimum base pay of $40,000, which will result in significant raises for several employees.
  • Average salary increases of 15 percent over three years.
  • Family health and dental insurance provided with no premium costs to employees.
  • The employer will contribute $800 a year into the CWA retirement and savings account for each employee and match up to an additional 4 percent.
  • Part time employees will be eligible for health and retirement benefits at a pro-rated basis.
  • Employees will get $1,000 every Jan. 1 in a Health Savings Account.
  • Employees will receive a cell phone on the JWJ plan or up to $65/month in reimbursement for the cost of their personal plan.
  • Employees can sell back up to 40 hours of unused vacation a year at a rate of $15 per hour.
  • Employees working in “campaign mode” will earn 8 hours of vacation for every week they are in such mode.
  • The employer will establish a pre-tax flexible savings program if feasible.

Also, Jobs with Justice and the UMG will establish a labor-management process to help resolve concerns.

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