The Philadelphia branch of the Newspaper Guild on Thursday set a strike authorization vote next week for its 500 members at the Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia Daily News and Philly.com.
A June 3 vote comes amid ongoing bargaining on a new contract to replace the one that expired earlier in the month. It’s now been extended to June 27 by mutual agreement of the union and management.
The primary issues include health care contributions by employees and the role of seniority in potential layoffs. Talks resume Friday.
In a Thursday letter to members, the leadership of Local 38010 of the Newspaper Guild indicated the secret-ballot vote would start in late afternoon and that the union bargaining committee will be present “to answer any question before you cast this important vote.”
A strike authorization is not tantamount to a walkout. It simply gives the union leadership the right to call one if it sees fit after the contract deadline passes. It can also sometimes be a sign of its frustration and a gambit to try to accelerate movement in talks.
The company has maintained the position throughout that it is hopeful of a deal while it differs on the union’s interpretation of their disagreements on most specifics.
“The management of PMN is hopeful this additional time will result in an agreement that is in the best interest of all parties involved,” Amy Buckman, the spokesman for management, the Philadelphia Media Network, said in an email to journalists last week.