Saturday, February 27, 2010

Lee 'very, very close' to final offer to St. Louis guild

On Friday, Lee Enterprises sent what it called its "very, very close to our last, best and final offer" to the St. Louis Newspaper Guild. The new proposal includes a 10 percent pay cut and three unpaid one-week furloughs between now and Sept. 30, 2012. Previous proposals included a 15 percent pay cut in the first year and a 5 percent pay cut the next two years, but no furloughs. The guild will make a counter offer Wednesday.

The union sent its members an overview of Lee's new proposal:
5.5 year contract (This would make the contract conform to Lee's fiscal year-FY) 10% wage with three one-week furloughs between now and Sept. 30, 2012.

Possible* 2.5 % raise based on year over revenue in October 2012, 2013, 2014

*Raises are triggered by year over year revenue increases of 2% or more. Revenue is defined as total revenue of the Post-Dispatch and STL Distribution as they have historically recorded revenue.

Advertising Sale Reps-Retail sales reps, who currently have a base of $400 per week and outside sales commission employees, who currently have no base, will now have a base of $575 per week.

Retiree Medical-Eliminate

Retiree Life Insurance-Eliminate

Pension Plan-Freeze (keep the accrued benefits, but the pension would stop growing)

401K- Increase monthly contribution to $75 a month

Newsroom: Status quo if you have a company provided phone you can keep it and the company will continue to pay for it.

Advertising: The Company will approve PDAs for all outside sales employees. Employees will be reimbursed $100 to buy a PDA and given $60 a month to plan for a minute plan.

The company is also proposing transitioning Guild members from the current accrual method of accounting for vacation to a grant system of vacation. We are still attempting to fully understand the impact of this and we'll share the details of this when the company clarifies this part of the proposal.

Seniority changes proposed by Company would give them the right to exclude up to 20% of the employees in an affected job classification in the event of a layoff.

Guild members have posted signs and tent cards to present a unified voice opposing Lee's then-proposed 15 percent pay cut. (This sign references the paper's "moxie" campaign.)

(Via e-mails)

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