Newspaper publishes union workers' salaries

The issue is about protecting jobs, a union spokesman said.
TOLEDO (AP) -- The Blade newspaper, which has locked out a third of its union workers in a contract dispute, has published the salaries and benefits of its union employees.
Full-page ads Sunday and Monday included the top salaries for reporters, sales representatives, press operators and drivers. The ads detailed how much the newspaper pays in benefits and overtime.
"Concessions are necessary because of the exorbitant wage and benefits we have generously agreed to in the past," the ad said. "We want to set the record straight about what we pay our employees."
Blade spokeswoman Luann Sharp said the newspaper wanted to show that even with concessions workers would make a good living.
Top scale salaries ranged from $55,625 for copy editors to $33,576 for customer service representatives, according to the ad, which also said union workers receive 100 percent medical coverage.
Larry Vellequette, a spokesman for the Toledo Council of Newspaper Unions, said the issue is about protecting jobs and not about money or employee salaries. He said the union has offered to take a 5 percent pay cut.
"We've said repeatedly we will do whatever it takes to make The Blade financially healthy," he said. "We're not going to give up entire departments of people to do so."
The Blade has locked out about 200 workers including some drivers, workers who process advertisements and mailers who assemble the papers. The newspaper has filled those positions with temporary workers and continued to publish.
Most of The Blade's labor contracts expired in March, and one agreement was reached in July. No further talks have been scheduled.
The unions have agreed to make concessions on wages and contributions to health-care costs.
The two sides disagree on a proposed management rights clause that would give administrators more flexibility to control staffing levels, layoffs and mandatory overtime shifts. The unions believe it would allow the paper to cut jobs. Previous contracts did not include such a clause.
Both sides have sought public support through billboard and broadcast ads. The unions have asked readers to cancel their subscriptions and advertisers to pull their business. About 2,500 subscriptions have been canceled, Sharp said.
The Blade, owned by Block Communications Inc., has a daily circulation of 135,000 and 180,000 on Sundays.

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