Northeast Ohio Newspaper Guild accepts agreement

11:58 PM, Dec 11, 2012   |    comments
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CLEVELAND -- The results of the Northeast Ohio Newspaper Guild contract vote are in and employees of the Cleveland Plain Dealer now have a better idea of their fate.

Members voted to accept an agreement with the company that includes a 6-year contract extension that includes additional money needed for benefits like healthcare and pension.

According to the Guild, the agreement gives the company greater latitude to use information in the paper from other entities, such as cleveland.com.

During talks, the company announces it planned to cut 58 jobs -- which was not subject to negotiation. However, they said the number would have been significantly higher with no agreement.

The agreement does provide a no-layoff guarantee for more than 100 journalist currently employed at the paper.

Bargaining member Rachel Dissell released a statement on behalf of the Guild:

"The passage of this agreement is without a doubt a defining moment in the 78 years Local 1 of The Newspaper Guild has represented Cleveland journalists. The agreement allows the company over time to supplant journalism produced by Guild professionals with cheaper content from other entities. But it was necessary to provide our members the best financial package we could, given difficult circumstances at The Plain Dealer."

"The agreement gives our members options to make decisions for their families and about their own futures. It also prevents more jobs from being cut. This agreement does not signal an end to our campaign to keep the paper publishing daily. It also means that we have to continue do what we do best, be a watchdog for the community and make sure they are getting the highest quality of journalism possible no matter who produces it."

It also offers more protection to the people who are staying. For employees, a provision reverses part of the 12 percent pay cut, restoring a little more than 8 percent after layoffs.

The vote doesn't address the newspaper cutting circulation back to a certain number of days. At Gypsy Bean café in Gordon Square, The Plain Dealer's black and white pages are a best seller.

"It's kind of funny, you talk about the newspaper dying, but I'll have people fight over the last copy on the counter, because we've always put them out front," says Nicole Gillota, owner of Gypsy Bean.

The agreement by the Guild will allow more outside content to be printed in the Plain Dealer, essentially joining forces with Cleveland.com. 

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