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Did You Know?

Local 31167 Holds Informational Picket at Union Leader-sponsored Granite State Debates
Norm Welsh

October 28, 2014

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

MANCHESTER-- Unionized workers at the New Hampshire Union Leader are standing up and fighting back Wednesday and Thursday by walking an informational picket line at the Union-Leader sponsored Granite State Debates.

 Members of the Manchester Newspaper Guild, which represents about 75 employees in the editorial, advertising, circulation, IT and janitorial departments at the statewide newspaper and website, have been living under what they consider an unlawfully imposed 18% pay cut since March in their ongoing fight to secure a new contract. Bargaining began more than a year ago. The contract between the employees and publisher expired Dec. 31, 2013.

Guild members, their families and supporters will picket and leaflet from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday outside The New Hampshire Institute of Politics at St. Anselm College, prior to debates between the candidates for governor and Senate.

"The Union Leader wants its union workers to continue to bear the brunt of repeated rollbacks in pay and benefits over the past several years," the Guild's bargaining team said. "The workers will not buckle to the company's unreasonable demands."

The company initially sought to gut workers' job security to allow it to lay off workers with impunity and outsource their work. It later sought an 18 percent retroactive wage cut before imposing conditions that include the 18 percent wage cut and a huge hike in health-care deductibles while continuing to attack workers' job security. Combined, the pay cut and insurance hike amount to an approximate 28 percent cut in pay and benefits for an average union member's family.

 Since 2009, and in addition to the currently imposed cuts, Guild members have agreed to additional pay cuts totaling about 14 percent, as well as higher insurance deductibles and a longer work week. Management and non-union employees have not shared in many of those cutbacks.

The Union has seven Unfair Labor Practice charges against the company pending with the National Labor Relations Board. Since the imposition of the huge cutbacks, approximately 20% of the union's employees have given their notice and left the company.

 While bargaining with the company since September 2013, the Manchester Guild, a local of The Newspaper Guild-Communication Workers of America, has engaged in numerous job actions and community outreach efforts. Guild leaders have vowed that if the Union Leader sponsors, co-sponsors, or is involved in an event, Guild members will be there in force to protest the company's unfair treatment of its workers.

 Local leaders have made clear the Union has no dispute with anyone other than The New Hampshire Union Leader, and is not asking anyone to cease performing work or to refuse to do business.