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Tentative Accord Reached in S.F. Newspaper Strike : Labor: Union workers may return to the job as early as Monday. Contract calls for annual raise of 3%.

November 13, 1994| From Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO — Picket lines were disbanded Saturday after a tentative agreement was reached for striking workers of San Francisco's two daily newspapers.

The proposal would end a strike that began Nov. 1, when 2,600 reporters, salespeople, printers and delivery drivers walked off the job after more than a year of fruitless negotiations over salaries and other issues.

One person died and several people were injured during the strike against the San Francisco Examiner and San Francisco Chronicle, the first walkout since a 52-day strike 26 years ago.

Workers will vote on the contract today.

The Chronicle and Examiner might be produced with union workers as early as Monday, according to the San Francisco Free Press, a newspaper put out by striking reporters.

Workers would get an average annual raise of 3% under the contract, which would expire in 1998, according to the Free Press. They had asked for a 3.5% raise; management had offered a 2.46% raise.

Also, all the workers will return to work without any threat of discipline except those convicted of a felony or those who "committed acts with the intent of causing bodily harm or serious property damage."

Other details of the contract were not released.

The tentative agreement was reached late Friday and announced early Saturday by the office of Mayor Frank Jordan, who stepped into the dispute eight days ago.

"This has been a long and tiring process," Jordan said. "All San Franciscans, myself included, look forward to seeing the Chronicle and Examiner back on doorsteps and in the news racks."

The two papers, published under a joint operating agreement, are overseen by the San Francisco Newspaper Agency. The Conference of Newspaper Unions is the umbrella group for eight unions representing the workers.

Picket lines came down about 4:35 a.m., moments after the agreement was announced. The unions also withdrew their advertising and circulation boycotts.

The few pickets on duty cheered the announcement.

"I'm ecstatic," said John Heise, a Teamster driver. "I have a family, three kids, a wife. She's been driving me crazy for days."

One striking trucker died a week ago when he was electrocuted, apparently trying to cut power to one of the newspapers' distribution plants.

The machinists union, the one striking group not represented by the conference, reached a tentative settlement late Thursday.

"The strike was needless and tragic, but I am glad it's over," Examiner Editor and Publisher William R. Hearst III said.

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