The 135 Guild members at the Baltimore Sun are breathing a little easier than many of their daily newspaper brethren: They have a three-year union contract that protects and preserves many of the benefits gained over the years.
The Sun, like virtually all other U.S. dailies has been hit hard in recent years by changing readership habits. But things have been especially dicey in Baltimore, where the parent ownership, the Tribune Company filed for bankruptcy protection in December 2008. It didn’t emerge from bankruptcy until 2012, and the arm that manages the newspaper operations (e.g., the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune) since 2014 has been known as Tribune Publishing.
It was a tough job to sell the tentative collective bargaining agreement to the membership, said Scott Dance, a Sun Unit chairperson. “In the end, most everyone voted with their heads, even though their hearts weren’t in it.”
“They can’t lay anyone off because of outsourcing,” Dance said, and the contract preserves seniority provisions. Although there were no general increases, he said, there are step increases, which will help the newer people.