Committed to local news, Duluth News Tribune workers demand and win pay and job security improvements

Workers at the Duluth News Tribune voted overwhelmingly to ratify a new collective bargaining agreement that makes progress on wages and job security on Wednesday.

“This has been a difficult time for the industry and for the company and there have been years without any guaranteed raises at all,” said Tom Olsen, a reporter at the paper and chair of the Duluth News Tribune Guild unit of the Minnesota Newspaper and Communications Guild Local 37002. The unit consists of more than 30 journalists.

Guild members at the paper are committed to journalism and local news, Olsen said, but negotiators conveyed to management throughout bargaining that any agreement would have to include raises in every year of the contract and improvements on job security. Workers were also concerned about the loss of staffers to other publications.

The three-year agreement includes across-the-board raises of 2%, 3% and 3%, effective January 2022; January 2023, and December 2023, respectively.

Workers also won new language on job security. In the event of a reduction in force, management must accept volunteers before resorting to layoffs, with volunteers receiving severance. In addition, the agreement establishes a labor-management committee to discuss workforce issues, changing business practices, and technology, training and development.

Changes were also made to night differential pay, mileage reimbursement, mobile phone compensation and internet expenses.

“We’re very happy about the agreement,” Olsen said.