When new owner Gannett demanded in March that reporters and photographers reapply for their jobs and interview with Gannett representatives, UAW-represented newsroom employees filed a grievance under the successors and assigns provision of their contract. The provision is common in union contracts as it requires a new owner to recognize and bargain with the union. Though the union was willing to work with Gannett, the company's wage and benefit offer was below the contractual rates. The grievance moved quickly to arbitration.
A U.S District Court judge issued an injunction March 28 temporarily blocking the sale pending the outcome of the arbitration. The arbitrator ruled April 9 that Tribune was obligated to include the union contract in the purchase and sale agreement. From AP late Friday:
Tribune and the union filed court papers Thursday saying they had reached an agreement confirming the arbitrator's ruling and the clarification, which upheld the initial decision.
"We wanted the court to confirm the arbitration award so that the award had the authority of a court order and we've achieved that," said Henry Murray, an attorney for the union.
Will the sale will go forward? Union reps report Gannett said it will not go through with the deal if it has to take the union contract. Discussions are on-going.
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