(Note: Follow-up here.) This just in — a statement from the Newspaper Guild of Greater Boston on contract negotiations on behalf of the Boston Herald’s editorial employees:
Boston Herald editorial employees tonight rejected a proposed contract that offered no increase to pay or benefits and cuts to the employees’ severance plan.
Editorial guild workers — who pay for 93-percent of their own health care costs, and $190 per month in parking — have not demanded relief for any of the costs they bear to work at the paper, nor did they expect or seek a raise.
While guild members are aware of the financial constraints facing newspapers the company is oblivious to the economic hardships of its employees. Herald workers have slowly shared more of the burden of running the newspaper over the years, in the form of parking, health care, furlows and paycuts, while the company has only used this generosity to line the pockets of its management and increase the number of non union employees.
While employees asked for no changes to the existing contract, the company wanted cuts to the severance plan, a direct attack on those employees who have spent a good portion of their lives building the Herald. It was all the more surprising since it recently expanded financial benefits for non-union employees in the form of a matching 401(k).
There are 66 editorial employees eligible to vote, 58 cast ballots, 32 voted no, 26 voted yes.
The commercial unit votes next week on this same contract.
Follow @HeraldWorkers on Twitter for updates.