Washington Mailers Local 14201/ M-29 and the Washington Post ratified a new collective bargaining agreement in January. The new, two-year agreement runs through February 8, 2018.
In 2013, M-29 ratified its first agreement with the company in more than a decade, negotiating bonuses, immediate wage increases and other fringe benefits. That agreement set the bar for this new contract.
M-29 President Joe Fiedler, who was elected after the last contract agreement, served on both negotiating committees.
“Labor-management relations seem better than before,” says Fiedler.
“There weren’t any real surprises at the bargaining table this time around. We were the last unit to negotiate so we knew what to expect from the company. Regardless, we still fought hard for raises and even won a $500 signing bonus,” Fiedler explains.
Mailers, Helpers and Utility Mailers will receive a $15 per week raise in the new agreement as well as winning back a previously lost $15 per-pay-week pension fund contribution.
Since signing the last agreement in 2013, the Washington Post has gone through some big changes, the largest being that Amazon.com founder and chief executive Jeff Bezos formally took over as owner, ending the 80-year ownership reign of the Graham family.
Bezos’s new ownership played a central role in negotiations, in particular for the pension plan. After the sale, the old pension fund was closed. Monies in that fund are guaranteed for those who contributed, however the plan is frozen. A new pension fund was established and the new contract calls for annual salary contribution of 3.75 percent.
“Overall, everyone was pretty happy with the contract,” said Fiedler.
Printing, Publishing and Media Workers Sector President Dan Wasser and Sector Representative Steve DeIanni joined Fiedler and M-29 members Tim Lett, Gary Costantino and Jaron Higgins on the negotiating committee.