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Thursday, January 03, 2008

The Washington Post: Some Workers Go Five Years Without A Raise

District-based Communications Workers of America, the union that represents about 400 post production employees for the Washington post has initiated a month long ad campaign against the Washington Post, as well as having started a website, with the intention of jump starting negotiations.

The campaign includes radio and television ads and billboards on buses and at the Metro Center and Farragut North Metro stations. Some of the print ads use the names of the newspaper's sections to help get their point across. For example: "Some employees are going on five years without a raise. Is kicking workers around a SPORT at the Post?" "OUTLOOK not good for Post workers looking for fair wages."

According to the website that the union started, a Washington Post worker of 30 years, Mr. Greg Christarella states, "I've been at the Post for over thirty years and have never seen it this bad before. The Post refuses to negotiate until they get the right to withdraw from our union pension. Money we put in from our pay raises – our money. "

Other quotes from workers that have been with the Post for 25-30 years can be found here.

More about the pension plan shows that right now, the production workers have a national pension plan administered jointly by a board of employer and union trustees. But the Post is now demanding the right to withdraw from that plan, as well as requesting the unilateral right to decide what to do with the money in the plan. That money has been diverted from the workers pay raises over the last 30 years. It belongs to the workers. That’s right - the Post is asking to take pension money that has been coming out of its workers’ paychecks.

You might say, “But times are tough. Everybody's got to tighten their belt. Right?”

But times aren't tough for the Washington Post. In 2006, the company reported $324.5 million in profits, and Post executives rewarded themselves with millions in bonuses.

According to the Washington Post's figures, the newspaper's average daily circulation peaked at 832,232 in 1993. It now sells an average of 638,800 papers Monday through Saturday. Operating income for the company's newspaper division, primarily The Post, plummeted 50 percent during the third quarter of 2007, compared with the third quarter of 2006.

This battle is heating up again and is getting ugly and the Post blames a loss in advertising revenue for much of their trouble, but perhaps greed and horrible reporting as well as an undeniable bias from their so-called journalists has much to do with it.