After long negotiations, Star Tribune Guild approves a new contract

Guild co-chair and Strib reporter Janet Moore addressed the crowd at an April 9 rally.
Guild co-chair and Strib reporter Janet Moore addressed the crowd at an April 9 rally.

After over 2,000 days without a raise, members of the Star Tribune Newspaper Guild will see their chant -- "Show us the green in 2013" -- answered. On Wednesday, the union approved a new contract.

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Eleven weeks after members' contracts expired, one week after a rally outside the paper's headquarters, and two days after the paper won two Pulitzer Prizes, the Guild agreed to a deal that offers a slight wage increase and wins on health insurance and bereavement leave.

"This was a hard-fought contract," Janet Moore, the Guild co-chair, wrote in an email. "While we had hoped for a better economic package, this is one of the better Guild contracts negotiated nationally in the past year."

The wage increase will boost employees' earnings by between $4,000 and $6,000 over the life of the contract. It will hit in two increments, one as soon as the contract is ratified and one in 2015.

Guild members also beat back the expansion of a "two-tier" wage system, in which some employees are compensated by different standards, and won a three-day bereavement leave, as well an 80/20 health insurance premium split in 2014.

One loss for the Guild is the continuation of the policy that managers can do double duty as editors. "Unfortunately, the company would not budge from its insistence," Moore wrote. However, the contract specifies that no Guild member can lose his or her job as a result of any edits made by management.

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