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Labor Groups Battling Sacramento Paper Urge a Subscription Boycott

April 17, 1987|From a Times Staff Writer

SACRAMENTO — A coalition of organized labor groups, acting at the request of the Northern California Newspaper Guild, on Thursday urged a subscription boycott of the Sacramento Bee newspaper to protest a breakdown in contract negotiations over merit wage increases.

Following the example of other unions, the Guild is looking for ways to put pressure on management without calling a strike, according to Jerry Rocker, a unit administrative officer.

"The strike as a strategy is no longer a valuable tool in the labor movement, in my opinion," Rocker said. "They (management) simply replace you and go on about their merry business."

Talks Broken Off

After almost a year of bargaining over wages and fringe benefits, the Bee management last month unilaterally broke off negotiations with the Guild and imposed its own working conditions.

Rocker said the subscription boycott campaign "is intended to convince McClatchy management to return to the bargaining table and sign a contract that is fair and equitable."

The Guild also is calling in Jerry Tucker, a former assistant regional director of the United Auto Workers in St. Louis, who is considered an expert in the strike alternative strategy movement.

Editor C. K. McClatchy charged that the Guild objects to having pay raises tied to individual performance and that it tried to have 17 Bee employees fired because they would not pay union dues.

'Philosophical Differences'

"These are simply philosophical differences," McClatchy said. "Over them, the Guild seeks this inappropriate action, which, if successful, could actually harm those it represents and 1,500 other Bee employees."

Labor groups became concerned last year when the McClatchy organization purchased the Tacoma News Tribune in Tacoma, Wash., and repudiated all of that paper's existing labor agreements.

The Sacramento Bee had a 245,377 daily circulation and a 289,084 Sunday circulation as of March 31, according to an official of the McClatchy chain, which also publishes newspapers in Fresno and Modesto.

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