The Post-Dispatch unit of St. Louis Newspaper Guild Local 36047 voted to begin early and expedited bargaining for a new contract. The current five-year contract expires in June 2009. Negotiations will start in September. Most Lee papers are not union shops, but with "expedited bargaining" both sides take a limited number of issues.
The guild's top 4 issues, in order as outlined on its blog: Job security, health care, wages and retirement benefits.
Lee's top issue: Cost control and savings.
If the two sides cannot come to an agreement during expedited bargaining, regular bargaining will start in the spring.