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Monday, November 25, 2013

Sun-Times Media and the Chicago Newspaper Guild reach two settlements

Posted By on 11.25.13 at 04:47 PM

The Chicago Newspaper Guild and Sun-Times Media have reached a couple of settlements after fitful negotiations that lasted 15 months.

The first is on a new three-year contract at the Sun-Times and the company's other guild papers: the Pioneer Press weeklies, the northwest Indiana Post-Tribune, the Lake County News-Sun, and the Herald-News in Joliet. According to the guild, terms include a small increase in salary and "restoration of two weeks unpaid vacation time." About 125 guild members in all are affected.

Here's a link to the news release issued jointly Monday by Sun-Times Media and the guild.

The other is on an unfair labor practice the guild filed with the National Labor Relations Board after the company laid off its photographers in May. Seventeen of the photographers were guild members, and some will return to work, the guild announced.

Fuller terms of the new contract are being withheld by the guild until its members have a chance to discuss them at ratification meetings December 2 and 3. Guild spokesperson Beth Kramer said details of the photo settlement won't become public until the photographers themselves have all been briefed on them.

In a statement on the new labor contract, Jim Kirk, publisher/editor in chief of the Sun-Times, said "both sides emerged winners." The company needed "to retain the flexibility it needs to return to profitability," he said, but it wants employees who are "eager to work together with management to be successful." He went on, "Together we will prevail in overhauling our business so that we are here for the long term. If we are successful and profitable, we all will benefit. This is an important first step toward getting there."

The Reader, a nonunion paper owned by Sun-Times Media, is not directly affected by either settlement.

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