Monterey County Herald union petition asks Digital First Media to OK a contract with raises

A petition launched by the Monterey County Herald’s newsroom union asks owner Digital First Media to keep the paper “as a valuable community resource by improving conditions for employees by approving a new contract with their union.”

In 2005, the newsroom had 12 reporters covering the county. Now, due to layoffs and attrition,herald six reporters struggle to cover the same beats. …

For six years, Herald employees have made sacrifices and endured shrinking paychecks because we are committed to bringing the news to our readers. We’ve accepted a wage freeze in our last three-year contract, along with unpaid furloughs that amounted to a 2 percent loss of income for each week furloughed.

The Pacific Media Workers Guild, which represents Herald employees, is asking that the new contract have a “modest” cost of living increase and a severance package for those laid off in the future.

“The company has refused both,” says the union.

Guild chairman Phillip Molnar tells me: “We are asking for 3 percent raises each year for the next three years and health care premium costs capped at 34 percent. We’ve been in negotiations since October.”

The company hasn’t reacted to the petition, he says.

* Petition asks for a fair contract for Monterey County Herald staff (