WBNG-represented workers at the York (Penn.) Dispatch daily newspaper have a new three-year collective bargaining agreement that features an immediate 3 percent raise and a clause assuring that employees on staff under the previous contract will continue to receive free individual medical insurance coverage.
The agreement with the York Dispatch Publishing Company is the second for Dispatch employees since the unit’s local began its merger with the Washington-Baltimore NewsGuild in 2011. The previous WBNG pact, also for three years, expired Oct. 6; the recently signed deal ends on that date in 2018.
The contract increases the shift differential from $2 to $5, and boosts monthly cellphone reimbursement from $30 to $50. The mileage rate also was hiked, from 45 cents to 50 cents.
Operated by an independent publisher, the Dispatch has a lease arrangement with Gannett. On June 1, the nation’s largest newspaper chain acquired the Dispatch and 10 other daily news properties from Digital First Media (DFM). The purchase included the WBNG-represented York Daily Record/Sunday News, and the nearby Chambersburg Public Opinion, Hanover Sun, and Lebanon Daily News. Employees at these three south-central Pennsylvania news properties do not have Guild representation.
The Guild’s two-year contract at the Daily Record expires June 30, 2016, and – unlike the deal negotiated at theDispatch – will be bargained with Gannett, which announced in August that it was moving the 10-person Daily Record Design Department to Louisville, Ky. When the move is completed in mid-November, the number of Guild-represented workers at the Daily Record will have been reduced from 46 to 36.
Fifteen Dispatch employees are covered by the latest Guild contract.
The nation’s largest newspaper chain announced June 1 that it was acquiring 11 daily news properties from Digital First Media (DFM), including the WBNG-represented York Daily Record/Sunday News and York Dispatch, which though owned by Gannett, will continue to have an independent publisher.
Owner of USA Today – and now 80 other daily newspapers – Gannett is the largest U.S. publisher by revenue and second largest in number of titles, with DFM managing about 100 newsrooms. Gannett had previously announced that it is about to split into two companies: TEGNA, for broadcast; and Gannett, which will become its “publishing division.”
The transaction involving the 11 daily newspaper properties in Texas, New Mexico, and Pennsylvania (including non-Guild papers in Hanover, Lebanon, and Chambersburg) seems to confirm that DFM was planning to sell off its daily products piecemeal in the wake of a failed deal to have them all purchased outright by Apollo Global Management.
In a statement, Robert Dickey, president of Gannett’s U.S. Community Publishing group and soon-to-be CEO of its publishing company, hailed the acquisitions. “We are pleased to welcome these [properties] … as we further our efforts to expand our reach as the best local media in America for consumers and businesses.”
The purchase of the WBNG-represented Dispatch, does not affect its independent editorial operations or its collective bargaining. The two York dailies combined their business activities in 1990, and have shared a building since 2013, when the Dispatch moved its editorial staff from downtown York to the Daily Record offices – now owned by Gannett – in adjacent West Manchester Township.