Friday, June 12, 2009

Update on PT circulation station closure

Additional details of MediaNews Group's plans to shutter the Long Beach Press-Telegram's sole remaining circulation facility were presented to Guild members yesterday.

The company, citing a need to further reduce operating expenses at the P-T, plans to close the Signal Hill facility by June 23 and move the work to the Torrance Daily Breeze. The MNG-owned Los Angeles Daily News circulation department, which is not represented by the Guild, is also being consolidated to the Breeze.

The nine Guild members at the Signal Hill facility, the last P-T circulation station of five shuttered and consolidated by MNG since 1998, are being offered transfers to the Torrance Daily Breeze. The company has said that there are nine slots available in Torrance for the nine Signal Hill workers. However, not all of the nine slots are in their same "District Advisor" position currently held by the Signal Hill workers.

Any Guild member accepting a transfer will lose their Guild representation and become an "at-will" Breeze employee.

In addition to traveling the extra miles to Torrance, transferees will no longer receive a per-mile reimbursement for work travel (a much smaller per-day lump reimbursement will be provided), will have to use their own vehicles to perform their work, and will be forced to accept future wage and benefit cuts if enacted by the company.

Five of the positions at the Breeze are also set to be salaried, meaning transferees accepting these positions will not be eligible for overtime, a common occurrence for circulation workers.

Guild members at the Signal Hill facility who are interested in transfer will able to meet with management at the Torrance facility and look at the operation before making their final decision about transferring.

The Guild and members at the Signal Parkway circulation station are set to meet with MediaNews' SVP Jim Janiga on Friday morning to discuss further details of the situation.

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