Strib strikes tentative three-year deal with guild

Last night, the Star Tribune announced it had reached tentative agreement on a new three-year contract with the Newspaper Guild. Union members have two weeks to ponder and vote before the old deal expires at the end of this month, and the guild will meet next Wednesday for informational purposes.

Seem like good news? Wait until you hear about the cuts, which definitely excise fat but include meat and bone, too.

Graydon Royce, co-chairman of the newsroom unit, said that the proposal addresses economic and operational matters, and includes $2.5 million in cost reductions the company requested in April.

Editor Nancy Barnes praised both parties for reaching a tentative deal, but didn't discuss details other than to say that the company will achieve those savings through a variety of means, including the elimination of some newsroom jobs.

No one expected the paper to get through this without sacrifice, but just how thin the gruel gets remains to be seen. Belts will have to be tightened, and both sides' lips are following suit so far. The specifics of the slash-and-burn are still to take shape.

David Brauer offers this:

How will this reshape the state's biggest newsroom? There will be at least six fewer positions; management agreed to six buyouts that the union had originally sought ... Don't assume those are all reporters, editors and photographers; they can also include support staff.

What we know for certain is that the union has agreed to freeze wages for now; that there will be positions eliminated; and that the deal is shorter than its predecessor by two years. The devil, as they say, will be in the details.

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