On December 8, 2004, the Youngstown Newspaper Guild rejected The Vindicator's best and final offer. We were very disappointed since we committed additional monies to the final offer in the hope that our striking employees would be back to work during the holidays.
Over the last several weeks, The Vindicator had made several proposals for a new contract, all of which were rejected by the Guild. At the urging of the federal mediators and the Guild, we made our best and final offer in an attempt to end the strike. But, the Guild negotiators recommended rejection, and the membership voted to reject our final offer.
The rejection is particularly disappointing since a Guild international union representative recommended ratification, according to a report by the Business Journal, the nonunion publication hired by the Guild to help with its strike paper.
Although The Vindicator has, for many years, faced a shrinking revenue base, increased competition for advertising dollars and operating losses, The Vindicator's final offer addressed the Guild's concerns and included:
U A waiver of the employees' contributions for health insurance for at least four months resulting in savings to employees of up to $24.46 per week (depending on employee classifications and coverage).
U A combination of wage increases and bonuses totaling 2 percent per year for three years with higher increases for lower classifications.
U An increase in The Vindicator's contribution for dental insurance to $15 per week per employee.
U A special one-time payment of $1,000 to circulation DMs.
The Guild's rejection is unfortunate. But you can be assured that our dedicated employees, both union and nonunion, are committed to continuing to provide you - our readers, our carriers and our advertisers - with The Vindicator, the premiere newspaper in the Valley.
Thank you again for your continued understanding and support.
Betty Jagnow, publisher
Mark Brown, general manager