Hearst Corp., press operators settling

The Associated Press
Friday October 20, 2000

SAN FRANCISCO — The Hearst Corp. and the union representing press operators at the San Francisco Examiner have agreed to settle their dispute through arbitration, the Hearst-owned San Francisco Chronicle reported Thursday. 

The San Francisco Web Pressmen and Prepress Workers’ Union Local 4 contends that Hearst should have required the new owners of the San Francisco Examiner to honor the union’s contract when it transferred the paper to the Fang family in August. 

The Fangs are scheduled to begin publishing the new Examiner Nov. 22. The family has said it will use its own nonunion presses or contract with other printers. The union tried to block the Examiner deal with a federal lawsuit filed in San Francisco. It soon dropped its request for an injunction, asking for arbitration instead. 

The Examiner and the San Francisco Chronicle have also had difficulty lately getting their papers to customers. 

About 40 of the papers’ 2,000 carriers refused to deliver the San Francisco Sunday Examiner & Chronicle and Monday’s papers in an effort to win higher pay. As a result of the walkout, on both days 13,000 subscribers received their papers late, said Stephen Johnson, vice president of circulation for both papers. 

Throughout the week, the papers have hired about 23 replacement workers, Johnson said.  

Even so, on Thursday about 4,000 subscribers were still receiving their papers late, he said. 

The carriers are independent contractors and are not employees of either paper. Less than 10 have returned to their routes, Johnson said. 

The Independent Delivery Carrier Association is asking for a 30 percent pay hike and a reduction in the weight of the newspapers, according to its picket-line literature. 

The joint paper’s Sunday circulation was 579,000, according to a September 1999 audit by the Audit Bureau of Circulation.