In a first-of-its-kind agreement, NewsGuild-CWA reached a "global settlement" with GateHouse Media that improves wages and protects health benefits at 16 GateHouse-owned newspapers.
"By negotiating a single agreement for 16 newspapers, we have significantly enhanced workers' power now and for the future," said Bernie Lunzer, NewsGuild president. "Rather than negotiating separately in small groups, our members are facing a common adversary together. This agreement provides a great platform for future negotiations."
In addition to pay increases, the union won a guarantee that health insurance coverage would remain at current levels without increasing employees' costs in 2018. GateHouse had been planning to increase employees' share of premium costs or force them to move to a plan with fewer benefits. In either case, employees' health care costs would have increased significantly.
"The health insurance freeze is a major accomplishment," said negotiating committee member John Hill, who is vice president from NewsGuild Region 1 and president of the Providence (RI) Local.
GateHouse employees in Utica, NY, marked World Press Freedom Day on May 3, 2017, by reminding the company that "Democracy Depends on Journalism" and urging management to "Invest in Us."
Silver Airways Flight Attendants, represented by AFA-CWA, voted with 93.3% participation to unanimously ratify their first contract. The four year agreement provides immediate pay raises, defined schedule and work rules for 60 Silver Airways Flight Attendants. The contract was reached with the assistance of the National Mediation Board.
"AFA made it possible for our Silver Airways Flight Attendant family to exercise our rights to collectively bargain for our future," said Kate Britt, AFA Silver Airways President. "Although most Flight Attendants in the U.S. have contracts that define pay, benefits, and working conditions, this is a rare situation for most Americans today. We are proud to have stood together to gain AFA representation and the right to bargain. Achieving better pay and improvements at work with job security is especially sweet immediately prior to the holidays. We look forward to implementing our new contract as we enter a New Year. Congratulations to my flying partners at Silver Airways and to all of aviation's first responders in AFA who supported us and made this achievement possible."