ProJo Approves New Contract

The 250 guild-covered advertising and editorial employees at the Providence Journal yesterday approved a new three-year contract that increases the cost of health care and freezes pay, albeit temporarily, the Journal reported.

The newspaper is still picking up 80 percent of the cost of employee health care premiums (down from 85 percent in the last contract), but the sticker prices of some healthcare services will rise.

The pay freeze situation is a bit more complicated: in May 2009, all non-union employees working for the Providence Journal and parent company A.H. Belo received pay cuts from 2.5 to 15 percent.

The new contract stipulates that Guild members will not get a raise until the non-union employees’ pay is raised by at least 2.5 percent. But if non-union employees get a raise while the union members do not, the latter will get three days extra paid vacation.

“It is by no means a good contract by our standards,” said guild president John Hill. “The best you can say about it is that it is a product of its time, which for the news business right now is bad.”