Denver Newspaper Agency, unions agree to collective bargaining pact

Mon, July 10, 2000 by Tim Stautberg

DENVER – The Denver Newspaper Agency and the Denver Council of Newspaper Unions Sunday agreed to seven-year contracts effective with the implementation of the proposed joint operating agreement between the Denver Rocky Mountain News and The Denver Post.The Council of Newspaper Unions, which includes the unions that represent 2,600 employees at the two newspapers, also announced Sunday that its member unions are asking the U.S. Attorney General to promptly approve the joint operating agreement proposed by The E.W. Scripps Company, parent company of the News, and MediaNews Group Inc., parent company of The Post.The Denver Newspaper Agency is the third-party entity created by Scripps and MediaNews Group to manage all business functions of the two newspapers once the joint operating agreement is implemented.The collective bargaining pact was reached following a month of nearly around-the-clock negotiations between representatives of the unions and Carol Green, vice president of human resources and labor relations for the Denver Newspaper Agency. Green is one of three executives who have been appointed by Scripps and MediaNews to begin planning implementation of the agreement.Unions participating in the negotiations include the Communications Workers of America, Graphic Communications International Union and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.William R. Burleigh, chairman and chief executive officer for Scripps, praised negotiators for both sides in the talks for “diligently keeping their focus on the most important issue: preserving hundreds of good paying newspaper jobs in metropolitan Denver.”“This agreement clearly demonstrates that employees at both of the newspapers are as committed as we are to making this joint operating agreement a success,” Burleigh added. “It sends a very strong, and welcomed message.”William Dean Singleton, president and CEO of MediaNews Group, said, “Both sides worked long and hard to reach this agreement. With this thoughtful and historic pact in hand, The Post, the News, and all of the employees from both newspapers, can move forward as a team to preserve jobs and competitive newspaper reporting in Denver after the joint operating agreement is approved. This is most positively a win-win situation for everyone involved.”Tony Mulligan, president of the Denver Council of Newspaper Unions, said, “The unions are satisfied that the agency has addressed our concerns respecting working conditions and job security for our members. We are now confident that the joint operating agreement will preserve two editorial voices for the community.”All employees from both newspapers, with the exception of editorial employees, will transfer to the Denver Newspaper Agency after the joint operating agreement is approved and implemented.Scripps and MediaNews Group announced in May that they had agreed to form the Denver Newspaper Agency to produce and market Denver’s two Pulitzer Prize winning newspapers and secure the future of both newspapers. The agreement calls for the agency to publish the two newspapers for 50 years after it is approved. Such agreements are allowed under the Newspaper Preservation Act of 1970 and require the approval of the U.S. Attorney General.The agency, owned 50 percent by MediaNews and 50 percent by Scripps, will be responsible for all business functions for the News and The Post, including advertising and circulation sales, production and distribution. The News and The Post will maintain completely separate and competitive news operations.Scripps operates 20 daily newspapers, including the Denver Rocky Mountain News and the Boulder Daily Camera; 10 broadcast television stations; three TV networks, Home & Garden Television, Food Network and Do It Yourself; and a TV programmer, Scripps Productions. The company also operates United Media, a worldwide syndicator and licensor of news features and comics, and the Scripps Howard News Service. Scripps operates 31 revenue-producing Web sites, including hgtv.com, foodtv.com, diynet.com and comics.com.MediaNews Group is the nation’s seventh largest newspaper company. MediaNews publishes 51 daily newspapers and 127 non-daily publications in 13 states with daily circulation of more than 2 million, and non-daily circulation in excess of 2 million. MediaNews is a privately held company with headquarters in Denver. Its flagship newspaper is The Denver Post.