A spirited group of Newspaper Guild members at The Washington Post spent their lunch hour Thursday marching in front of the Post building, carrying balloons and hand-lettered signs demanding that management bargain fairly with the union.
The rally came one day before expiration of the Guild’s current contract, covering nearly 900 employees at the Post. The union had offered to extend the contract for two more years, with all terms remaining the same except for pay. The union is seeking a 3.5 wage increase; the Post is offering only a one-time lump sum payment.
Management refused to extend the contract, “because the publisher thinks it’s still too difficult to reduce staff,” according to the bargaining committee’s July 18 report. “Ponder that as you count the empty desks around you or thumb through the thinning pages of your newspaper.”
Job security and pay are key issues at the bargaining table, as well as ensuring that the company has in place and follows fair disciplinary procedures. “Too many friends have departed or had their careers trashed by unfair performance evaluations to settle for anything less than a fair contract,” the bargaining committee said.
As the hour-long rally wrapped up, committee member Tim Smith jumped up on a not-so-sturdy table and congratulated marchers for sending a message with their chants and signs.
“Today, they have heard you upstairs!” Smith said, pledging that management will keep hearing the union’s message until the company is prepared to offer a fair contract. “It’s a long, hard road, but we will win,” he said.
Read more about the contract battle on the unit’s website, www.postguild.org.