Thursday, October 11, 2007

Smoker fee, surcharge draws angry reaction from staffers * **

Editor & Publisher reported today on Tribune's plan, pointing out that Gannett and Scripps Newspapers have similar fees in place. Gannett said their fees are part of a wellness plan. Washington-Baltimore Newspaper Guild president Bill Salganick said "What strikes me is that [other] employers try to encourage healthy living, but they do it in a constructive way by developing programs for weight management and smoking cessation. But Tribune immediately went negative."

Tribune spokesman Gary Weitman said ""We pay the lion's share of medical expenses and we have a responsibility to contain those costs. We are and have been doing everything we can, it is a shared responsibility between employees and the company."

Shared responsibility? Maybe. But what about fairness? Why not give the non-smokers a price break.

* Also: Mark Lacter at LAObserved weighs in
** Read Eric Gershon at the Hartford Courant: "Spouses, Smokers Earning Penalties"

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