Whew, what a long day!
As reported earlier on this site, the Guild entered court-mandated mediation yesterday to explore the possibility of reaching an understanding with Lee Enterprises regarding our lawsuits (blue and yellow contract retirees) regarding lifetime medical coverage. The judge, hoping that something might be resolved, ordered the parties to participate. He did not, however, order that both sides reach an agreement and, in fact, we did not.
You should know that your union entered the mediation process hopeful. We had held extensive talks with our Executive Committee, our actuary and our attorney regarding the financial value of a decision in our favor and genuinely attempted to settle all differences based on that value. Our reasoning was based on our concerns regarding the company’s long-term financial stability and the fact that the cost of medical coverage is so burdensome for our retirees – and the process so slow – we were of a mind to try to get some relief for our people right now. We were willing to compromise; we did not demand 100 cents on the dollar. We let Lee’s attorneys know our position – we explained it thoroughly and we were straightforward and candid in what we presented. And, while we were told that they appreciated our honesty and our position, Lee was only willing to settle the suits for what amounted to just pennies on the dollar. So chalk up another long and uneventful day in our ongoing battle to get justice for our Post-Dispatch blue contract and yellow contract retirees. However, things will soon start moving quickly. (Blue) interrogatories are complete, (blue) depositions occur the week after next and we will be in trial (for the blue case) this summer.
As always, we will keep you in the loop and report on events as occur. Stay strong!