Yesterday, union-represented employees of the Denver Post voted to accept a package that includes "wage cuts ranging from 6 percent to 9 percent, depending on salary; higher health-insurance costs; seven days per year of unpaid furloughs; and a suspension of employer contributions to 401(k) retirement accounts," according to an article penned by the Post's Steve Raabe. Total savings: nearly $2 million.
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This development has been expected since late February, when the Denver Newspaper Agency and assorted unions agreed on similar cuts -- and no wonder. Given the current prospects for workers in the print-journalism industry, belt-tightening is far preferable to job hunting. Still, completing this task was important for Post chairman and MediaNews Group CEO Dean Singleton. As he acknowledged during questioning at the February 26 press conference announcing the impending closure of the Rocky Mountain News, he would like to rejigger a $130 million loan used to build a new state-of-the-art printing press -- one that will now be used to print the Fort Collins Coloradoan as well as the Post. The institutions on the hook for this sum wanted the paper's costs to be cut before getting into the nitty-gritty of talks about a new term, and now they have been.
For Singleton, then, the negotiations continue. And the fact that the first two pacts seem to have been resolved in his favor bodes well for the next one.