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February 26, 2009 12:55 AM UTC

Some Costs of the EFCA

  • by: Libertad

Knowing that they could use some editorial neutrality and to retain some forced union dues generating jobs, Union Bosses caved on their members to support the bigger picture.

Now we (the consumer) all appreciate the continued availability of both the Rocky and the Post, after all choice is a good thing to have.


With rumors swirling about the financial viability of both papers we should be concerned, but not as concerned as the union members. Their jobs and economic viability are at stake even after a 12% whack in pay.

The costs here are not only to the employees, but we the people will likely be faced with a neutral to supportive editorial from the Post.

Now it won’t be a full sail promotion of the EFCA as introduced, but it will be cover for Bennet and Udall’s cloture votes and supportive of their negotiation to modify the introduced bill.

The editorial(s) will focus on support for check-in check-out processes, forced arbitration, and the backsliding on a host of other factors that support Boss thuggery and nothing to the workers.

A 12% paycut could force some to re-work mortgages

Unions representing workers at the Denver Newspaper Agency have reached a tentative agreement on wage and benefit cuts that average 11.7 percent.

The agency, a joint venture that handles the business operations of the Rocky Mountain News and The Denver Post, approached its unions in December. The agency sought $18 million in concessions as part of a broader $35 million cost-cutting package.

It’s not clear if the tentative agreement, reached at 1 a.m. today, meets that $18 million goal.

Some employees could still get the ax, even after coughing up a 12% paycut

Mulligan could not rule out agency layoffs even after a deal is approved. “I don’t know if there will be staffing reductions or not,” he said.

The agency has about 1,080 union employees, including about 900 subject to today’s deal.

In 2007, the last year for which financial results are available, the agency had about $295 million in expenses, not counting depreciation.

When profits return, so will union negotiators

Mulligan said if the agency has “verifiable profits” – something that will be checked twice a year – some of the concessions, including wages, 401(k) company match, dental insurance, vacation and mileage reimbursement, might be reversed.

Backstopping any risky behavior by Post editorial minds is a great concern

Mulligan said Denver Post union employees are close to completing negotiations on similar concessions, with a bargaining round scheduled for this afternoon.

Mulligan said a vote on the tentative deal will happen as early as March 8, but the union will wait until the Rocky’s fate is learned.

Although some are not certain that the Post will not collapse 1st

DonaldJohnson writes:

Pay cuts always hurt. But the employees are showing they are willing to sacrifice to save their jobs. Good for them. Hope things turn around soon, but I’m not counting on it. Hearst, which is MediaNews’ partner/creditor, is selling or closing the San Francisco Chronicle. That makes me wonder how much more they’re willing to put into MediaNews.


15 thoughts on “Some Costs of the EFCA

    1. That right, union bosses have, see nor use any linkage between existing ratified contracts and potential ‘partners’.

      Walt Isenberg (WSage Hotels) had the same virginal heart that Ohwilleke has, in his agreement with Andy Stern to make a multi million dollar business pay-off to Union Bosses in their effort to stop real employee free choice aka the Right-to-Work.

  1. A financially assisted neutral to supportive editorial from the Post.

    I predict an editorial that provides political cover to Bennet and Udall’s cloture votes first.

    Second and it may take two editorials, one that supports check-in check-out processes, supports forced arbitration, and the provides backsliding on a host of other factors. Factors that don’t assist workers, but due assist Corporate and Union Boss thuggery.

    So I guess if you don’t post otherwise, you are passively accepting this as a very likely scenario.

    Just as the union members will find out down the road, the story here is not about their paycut, but the arrangements made behind the scenes.

    1. The Post went ballistic over Ritter’s support for a union-backed bill last year.

      And Dean Singleton clearly is anti-union. So I wouldn’t expect any neutrality at all, because Singleton realizes the damage increased unionization would do to his retailer advertisers and many other businesses.

      The big mystery seems to be the financial viability of MediaNews and its relationship with Hearst.

      While both papers are liberal and reflect that in their political news stories, I prefer the Rocky. Unfortunately, that’s the one that seems most likely to close.

      1. Once bleeders, always bleeders. When kids paid up to the bully in school, the bully then owned those kids … always scared, they would forever let the bully have his way.

        I guess it is up to the Post, the RMN is gone.

    2. If I’m in a DNA union, my number one concern is that me and everyone else in my union is going to be out of a job in a year and a half when Rocky Mountain News business columnist David Milstead’s prediction that the Denver Post will die a little more than a year after the Rocky does will come true.

      One of the other major printers in Denver has already gone under.  My union members will have no careers left if the DNA goes under.

      The EFCA and national union solidarity rate about fifteen or twenty items down the list, and asking for editorial content changes would poison the well of the neogotiations.

      All politics is local, even union politics.  Jobs first, living wages second, fellow union organizing rights somewhere around the same level of importance as a right to have employer paid donuts at staff meetings.

      1. The prisoners are business and labor is the law.

        Seriously, if you don’t know business is divided and compromised here in Denver then you have been hanging with Tvert & Phelps way too much.

        The business pay-off to labor last fall was just an example of a failure to cooperate for maximum economic benefit.

  2. PDF of statement,

    Although its collapse has dominated recent media coverage, the financial sector is not the only segment of the U.S. economy running into serious trouble. The institutions that govern the labor market have also failed, producing the unusual and unhealthy situation in which hourly compensation for American workers has stagnated even as their productivity soared.

    Indeed, from 2000 to 2007, the income of the median working-age household fell by $2,000- an unprecedented decline. In that time, virtually all of the nation’s economic growth went to a small number of wealthy Americans. An important reason for the shift from broadly-shared prosperity to growing inequality is the erosion of workers’ ability to form unions and bargain collectively.

    A natural response of workers unable to improve their economic situation is to form unions to negotiate a fair share of the economy, and that desire is borne out by recent surveys. Millions of American workers – more than half of non-managers – have said they want a union at their work place. Yet only 7.5% of private sector workers are now represented by a union. And in all of 2007, fewer than 60,000 workers won union status through government-sanctioned elections. What explains this disconnect?

    The problem is that the election process overseen by the National Labor Relations Board has become drawn out and acrimonious, with management campaigning fiercely to deter unionization, sometimes to the extent of violating the labor law. Union sympathizers are routinely threatened or even fired, and they have little effective recourse under the law. Even when workers overcome this pressure and vote for a union, they are unable to obtain contracts one-third of the time due to management resistance.

    To remedy this situation, the Congress is considering the Employee Free Choice Act. This act would accomplish three things: It would give workers the choice of using majority sign-up– a simple, established procedure in which workers sign cards to indicate their support for a union – or staging an NLRB election; it triples damages for employers who fire union supporters or break other labor laws; and it creates a process to ensure that newly unionized employees have a fair shot at obtaining a first contract by calling for arbitration after 120 days of unsuccessful bargaining.

    The Employee Free Choice Act will better reflect worker desires than the current “war over representation.” The Act will also lower the level of acrimony and distrust that often accompanies union elections in our current system.

    A rising tide lifts all boats only when labor and management bargain on relatively equal terms. In recent decades, most bargaining power has resided with management. The current recession will further weaken the ability of workers to bargain individually. More than ever, workers will need to act together.

    The Employee Free Choice Act is not a panacea, but it would restore some balance to our labor markets.  As economists, we believe this is a critically important step in rebuilding our economy and strengthening our democracy by enhancing the voice of working people in the workplace.

    Statement Endorsers

    Henry J. Aaron, Brookings Institution

    Katharine Abraham, University of Maryland

    Philippe Aghion, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

    Eileen Appelbaum, Rutgers University

    Kenneth Arrow, Stanford University

    Dean Baker, Center for Economic Policy and Research

    Jagdish Bhagwati, Columbia University

    Rebecca Blank, Brookings Institution

    Joseph Blasi, Rutgers University

    Alan S. Blinder, Princeton University

    William A. Darity, Duke University

    Brad DeLong, University of California/Berkeley

    John DiNardo, University of Michigan

    Henry Farber, Princeton University

    Robert H. Frank, Cornell University

    Richard Freeman, Harvard University

    James K. Galbraith, University of Texas

    Robert J. Gordon, Northwestern University

    Heidi Hartmann, Institute for Women’s Policy Research

    Lawrence Katz, Harvard University

    Robert Lawrence, Harvard University

    David Lee, Princeton University

    Frank Levy, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

    Lisa Lynch, Brandeis University

    Ray Marshall, University of Texas

    Lawrence Mishel, Economic Policy Institute

    Robert Pollin, University of Massachusetts

    William Rodgers, Rutgers University

    Dani Rodrik, Harvard University

    Jeffrey D. Sachs, Columbia University

    Robert M. Solow, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

    William Spriggs, Howard University

    Peter Temin, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

    Mark Thoma, University of Oregon

    Lester C. Thurow, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

    Laura Tyson, University of California/Berkeley

    Paula B. Voos, Rutgers University

    David Weil, Boston University

    Edward Wolff, New York University

    1. I’ll bet most of the economists are liberal lefties and labor economists who lack much intellectual integrity. How many are tied in some way to unions through grants, consulting contracts and brainwashing?

      1. I see several Dems and liberals on the list who’ve worked in Dem administrations and probably want to again. Ray Marshall, for example, I think was once Sec. of Labor under Carter.

        When I heard him speak back in the 70s he couldn’t or wouldn’t give an accurate definition of productivity, and I called him on it.

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