SPEEA backs Times, P-I boycott

Herald staff

SEATTLE — Striking workers at Seattle’s two daily newspapers said Monday they are resuming a boycott campaign now that contract talks have collapsed.

They’re doing so with the support of the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace, which last week urged members to cancel their subscriptions to the papers.

SPEEA, which represents engineering and technical employees at Boeing, also donated $5,000 to the Pacific Northwest Newspaper Guild’s strike fund. The largest union at Boeing, the International Association of Machinists, is organizing a toy drive for the families of striking Guild members.

Talks by representatives of the Pacific Northwest Newspaper Guild, The Seattle Times and the Post-Intelligencer ended Sunday night after five hours with a federal mediator.

Guild representatives told a news conference Monday they were taking steps to put more pressure on management. They said the papers failed to engage in good-faith bargaining during weekend meetings.

Spokesman Ron Judd, a striking Times columnist, said the nearly four-week-old strike could go on for weeks.

Guild leaders said they would once again ask subscribers to cancel their subscriptions. They also plan to beef up radio advertising and launch a direct mail campaign with help from the Washington State Labor Council. The guild also would ask customers of major advertisers to pressure them to pull newspaper advertising.

"We have no choice," said Guild spokesman Art Thiel, a striking P-I sports columnist. "For those of us who have worked at these newspapers for a long time, this is a difficult thing."

Boeing unions are backing the striking newspaper workers.

Along with the cash donation, SPEEA is urging its members to join Guild members on picket lines, to make cash donations on their own and to help distribute the Union Record, the paper produced by the striking reporters and editors.

"A lot of people helped us during our strike, now it’s our turn to repay the favor," SPEEA President Craig Buckham said, according to a statement in the engineers’ weekly newsletter.

The Guild, which represents about 1,000 editorial, circulation and advertising employees at the papers, has been on strike since Nov. 21. The newspapers’ offers — the contracts are similar but not identical — included an hourly raise of $3.30 over six years.

It also includes an offer of three new paid days off a year, and lower monthly medical premiums, at least for P-I employees, according to a letter to Guild-represented employees posted on the newspaper’s Web site.

"This is a good offer," the letter from P-I Editor and Publisher Roger Oglesby said.

The union wanted a three-year contract with $3.25 in raises, plus matching 401(k) contributions and other improvements. Minimum pay for a reporter with six years’ experience currently is $844.88 per week, or $21.12 per hour. A first-year customer-service representative earns $421 a week, Guild officials said.

Oglesby said the Guild’s approach only hurts the situation.

"I’m looking for a resolution to this thing," he said. "The way to a solution is to look at the offer on the table."

Times spokeswoman Kerry Coughlin said the current offer was similar "with minor adjustments" to a proposal made before the strike began, then withdrawn.

"We think it’s really unfortunate the Guild is making this kind of effort and trying to damage the two newspapers, which really hurts everyone," Coughlin said.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Marysville firefighters respond to a 12-year-old boy who fell down a well Tuesday May 30, 2023 in Marysville, Washington. (Photo provided by Marysville Fire District)
Marysville firefighters save boy who fell 20 feet into well

The 12-year-old child held himself up by grabbing on to a plastic pipe while firefighters worked to save him.

Highway 9 is set to be closed in both directions for a week as construction crews build a roundabout at the intersection with Vernon Road. (Washington State Department of Transportation)
Weeklong closure coming to Highway 9 section in Lake Stevens

Travelers should expect delays or find another way from Friday to Thursday between Highway 204 and Lundeen Parkway.

Students arriving off the bus get in line to score some waffles during a free pancake and waffle breakfast at Lowell Elementary School on Friday, May 26, 2023, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
800 free pancakes at Everett’s Lowell Elementary feed the masses

The annual breakfast was started to connect the community and the school, as well as to get people to interact.

Marysville Mayor Jon Nehring speaks at the groundbreaking event for the I-5/SR 529 Interchange project on Tuesday, May 23, 2023 in Marysville, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
$123M project starting on Highway 529 interchange, I-5 HOV lane

A reader wondered why the highway had a lane closure despite not seeing work done. Crews were waiting on the weather.

Justin Bell was convicted earlier this month of first-degree assault for a December 2017 shooting outside a Value Village in Everett. (Caleb Hutton / Herald file)
Court: Snohomish County jurors’ opaque masks didn’t taint verdict

During the pandemic, Justin Bell, 32, went on trial for a shooting. Bell claims his right to an impartial jury was violated.

Gary Fontes uprights a tree that fell over in front of The Fontes Manor — a miniature handmade bed and breakfast — on Friday, May 12, 2023, at his home near Silver Lake in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Everett’s mini-Frank Lloyd Wright builds neighborhood of extra tiny homes

A tiny lighthouse, a spooky mansion and more: Gary Fontes’ miniature world of architectural wonders is one-twelfth the size of real life.

Will Steffener
Inslee appoints Steffener as Superior Court judge

Attorney Will Steffener will replace Snohomish County Superior Court Judge Janice Ellis, who is retiring in June.

Panelists from different areas of mental health care speak at the Herald Forum about mental health care on Wednesday, May 31, 2023 in Snohomish, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
At panel, mental health experts brainstorm answers to staff shortages

Workforce shortages, insurance coverage and crisis response were in focus at the Snohomish forum hosted by The Daily Herald.

Police: Marysville man fist-bumped cop, exposing tattoos of wanted robber

The suspect told police he robbed three stores to pay off a drug debt. He’d just been released from federal prison for another armed robbery.

Most Read