Machinists enter newspaper fray

  • BRYAN CORLISS / Herald Writer
  • Monday, November 6, 2000 9:00pm
  • Local News


Herald Writer

The largest union representing Boeing workers is urging members to support unionized employees of the Seattle Times and Seattle Post-Intelligencer in their current contract impasse.

"Please send e-mail messages to the newspaper publishers and executives. …" urges the Machinists union’s Web page. "Let them know you are solidly behind your Times and P-I sisters and brothers."

Some 1,300 union workers at the two Seattle papers are working under expired contracts. The Pacific Northwest Newspaper Guild, which represents newsroom and advertising workers at both papers, has asked its national union to approve a strike if a new contract hasn’t been agreed to by Thanksgiving.

On Monday, the guild named committees to oversee strike preparations. It also announced it has rented a strike headquarters and is preparing to publish strike papers, both in print and online.

However, another round of contract talks is set for Thursday, and "We have every reason to believe that we’ll get to a resolution that works for everybody," said Roger Oglesby, the P-I’s publisher.

Pay has been the main obstacle during negotiations, which the two papers are handling jointly. They publish under a joint operating agreement that keeps news and editorial pages separate but combines all other operations.

The Machinists got involved in the Times/P-I dispute through the King County Labor Council, a cross-union organization to which both unions belong.

Through the council, Machinists are "actively involved in the struggles of working families and working people throughout the region, and that’s why they’re involved in this matter," said Tim Flynn, the spokesman for the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers.

The 39,000-member Machinists union is the largest in Washington.

As a practical matter, however, there’s not a lot the machinists can do, short of calling on members to cancel subscriptions, said Peter Kardas, the director of the Labor Education and Research Center at The Evergreen State College in Olympia.

But having their backing is "the kind of thing that a union loves to have, support from the other unions," Kardas said.

Outside union support means having additional people to walk picket lines, write letters and distribute literature, to "make noise and make phone calls," Kardas said.

It can also help swing public opinion in favor of striking workers, and that can put pressure on management to settle, he added.

Indeed, the Times has a large number of subscribers who are Machinists and "the last thing we want to do is get sideways with those folks," said Times President Mason Sizemore.

However, both he and Oglesby said the real business will get done at the bargaining table.

"I don’t know that any outside opinion’s going to have a great deal of impact on that process," Oglesby said.

The newspaper guild has received a lot of support from organized labor, from AFL-CIO President John Sweeney individually and from the King County Labor Council as a whole, said Larry Hatfield, the guild’s administrative officer.

The labor council support includes that of the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace — the union for engineers and technical workers at Boeing.

Their backing will be invaluable if and when the guild strikes against the papers, Hatfield said. "They’ll supply people and money and logistics and all sorts of support."

But he’s "hopeful," Hatfield said. "There’s no reason we can’t reach an agreement and avoid a strike."

Talk to us

More in Local News

Funko mascots Freddy Funko roll past on a conveyor belt in the Pop! Factory of the company's new flagship store on Aug. 18, 2017.  (Dan Bates / The Herald)
Lawsuit: Funko misled investors about Arizona move

A shareholder claims Funko’s decision to relocate its distribution center from Everett to Arizona was “disastrous.”

1 stabbed at apartment in Lynnwood

The man, 26, was taken to an Everett hospital with “serious injuries.”

A firefighting helicopter carries a bucket of water from a nearby river to the Bolt Creek Fire on Saturday, Sep. 10, 2022, on U.S. Highway 2 near Index, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Red flag fire warning issued west of Cascades

There are “critical fire weather” conditions due to humidity and wind in the Cascades, according to the National Weather Service.

A house fire damaged two homes around 1:30 a.m. Tuesday, June 6, 2023 in Marysville, Washington. (Photo provided by Marysville Fire District)
Fire burns 2 homes in Marysville, killing 2 dogs

Firefighters responded to a report of a fire north of Lakewood Crossing early Tuesday, finding two houses engulfed in flames.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Mountlake Terrace in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Mountlake Terrace eyes one-time projects for $2.4M in federal funds

Staff recommended $750,000 for a new roof and HVAC at the library, $250,000 toward a nonprofit facility in Lynnwood and more.

The Snohomish River turns along the edge of the Bob Heirman Wildlife Preserve at Thomas’ Eddy on Wednesday, May 3, 2023 in Snohomish, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
To build a healthier Snohomish River, more log jams

About $2.8M in grants will help engineer log jams, tear down levees and promote salmon restoration at Bob Heirman Wildlife Preserve.

Dave "Bronco" Erickson stands next to the pink-and-purple 1991 Subaru Justy hatchback “Pork Chop Express” car that he is seeking to re-home for $500. The car has been on Whidbey Island for years, mainly as yard art. (Andrea Brown / The Herald)
For sale: Whidbey’s fabled ‘Pork Chop Express’ gets great smileage

Asking price is $500 for the 1991 Subaru Justy, a three-cylinder econobox with 65K miles and a transmission as rare as hen’s teeth.

People begin parading down First Street with a giant balloon “PRIDE” during Snohomish’s inaugural Pride celebration on Saturday, June 3, 2023, in downtown Snohomish, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Your guide to Pride in Snohomish County

Mark your calendars; Pride Month is upon us.

Twin sisters Lyndsay Lamb (left) and Leslie Davis (right), co-hosts of HGTV's Unsellable Houses. (Photo provided)
Meet and greet HGTV’s ‘Unsellable Houses’ twin sister stars in Snohomish on Friday

Lyndsay Lamb and Leslie Davis have made Lamb & Co. a #twinwin home-selling, home-goods brand.

Most Read