Vol XIl, Issue 31 TNG/CWA Local 31041 June 12, 2001

Seattle striker
to speak
at Thursday meeting

One of the most dramatic newspaper industry events of the past year was the strike by the Pacific Northwest Newspaper Guild against the Seattle Times and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer - called at time when many people thought newspaper walkouts weren't viable.

But the Guild conducted a daring 49-day-strike, which concluded with the union believing that the newspapers learned new respect for the Guild and won't again underestimate the union's resolve.

Thursday, June 14, Providence Newspaper Guild members will get to hear an account of that strike - and its bitter aftermath - first hand.

130 get more
me-too wages

The company this week will pay out $7,423.95 more in back pay under the "me-too'' wage hike that the newspaper implemented last month in the face of a Guild law suit.

The reason: the company made two mistakes in calculating the funds.

Guild administrator Tim Schick culled a stack of company records and found that about 130 bargaining unit workers had been short-changed.

In some cases, the amounts lost were just a few cents. But some workers will receive as much as $560.

There were two missteps.

First, the company did not figure the recalculated wages into vacation entitlement for workers who have left the company. Secondly, in some cases, it did not calculated 1999 wages.

The company in May finally put into effect an additional

1.02 percent wage hike for pay scales that took effect Jan. 1, 1999, and paid the back pay owed since then.

This was the result of a grievance that the Guild filed early in 1999, contending that The Journal had provided the Guild unit a 3 percent raise received by other unions, but had not accounted for an extra percentage point the Guild was due under its Gainsharing bonus program which other union had given up.

Although the Guild won an arbitration last July, the company dragged its feet on making the adjustment - after the Guild filed suit in U.S. District Court to force the newspaper to obey the "binding arbitration" finding.

The extra funds bring the total payout to the 500 member bargaining unit to over a half-million dollars.

Naomi Ishisaka, a strike leader, will talk about the Washington newspaper walkout during the Guild's membership meeting at 12 noon at the Guild's headquarters, 2nd floor, 270 Westminster St., Providence.

Ishisaka, 26, will describe the preparations and the conduct of that strike, in addition to the startling aftershocks of the walkout, which are still being felt in Seattle - by people like herself.

A copy editor at The Times, Ishisaka was one of the strikers who was not immediately brought back to work after the walkout ended Jan. 9, but were kept on a waiting list - a list that still contains about 50 of the 1,000 strikers.

But when Ishisaka, rather than cooling her heels, took a job in the meantime as editor-in-chief of ColorsNW Magazine, The Times declared that she was working for "competing media'' and fired her. The Guild is fighting the company's action.

In an interview yesterday, Ishisaka said that she had been on The Times several months when she became part of a group hoping to energize the leadership of the Guild, and was elected to the Pacific Northwest Guild's executive board.

In addition, she was part of the bargaining committee, and when the Nov. 21 walkout neared, she was named to the steering committee that planned and conducted the strike. She was in charge of communications between rank and file union members and the Guild leadership.

She said one of the most important things that the Seattle strikers accomplished was ending the strike relatively quickly, without it developing into the years-long situation faced by Detroit newspaper unions.

Further, although there were many union members unsure about whether a strike was a good idea before it began, after the strike, many Guild members no longer were stuck in the middle of the road:

"The thing that is different is that people really see clearly that we are not the bad guys here,'' she said. "I think that it really made the union stronger."

Ishisaka is Seattle native, and has a BA in ethnic studies and political economy from The Evergreen State College. She has worked at The Seattle Times, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, The News Tribune and the Bremerton Sun.

Guild members who cannot attend the membership meeting, and would like to speak with Naomi Ishisaka, or who would like to discuss the Seattle experience with her further, are invited to do so Thursday or Friday. Contact Brian Jones, 7360, Felice Freyer, 7397, or other members of the executive board.


Wear something very dark every Thursday to show how you feel about the company's continuing refusal to negotiate a fair contract. Some men have been told they look better in black; women don't need to be told. Both sexes look less heavy; and the Guild gets to show its girth.

Copyright © 2000 The Providence Newspaper Guild
TNG/CWA Local 31041
270 Westmister St., Providence, Rhode Island 02903
401-421-9466 | Fax: 401-421-9495