Nonprofit, independent journalism. Supported by readers.


The blue-collar Star Tribune cuts are the deepest

Fewer workers, and many $50,000 jobs becoming $30,000 jobs. 

The Teamsters for a Democratic Union site has been a go-to point for information about the blue-collar side of Star Tribune labor cuts. Today — in addition to the professionally drawn cartoon above — the site details the concessions that owners Avista Capital Partners tried and failed to get.

Management has said a rejection would mean “court-supervised restructuring.” Their proposal is probably what they’d seek in bankruptcy. TDU notes these provisions:

♦ For pressmen, a 13 percent wage cut, plus clawing back a buck-an-hour hike Teamsters took in December and eliminating another $1-an-hour later this year. Health benefits, now 80/20, would be “nearly a 50/50 split.” The workforce would be cut from 92 to 76; the union had 111 members just a few months ago.

♦ Mailers’ pay would have been cut from $25 to $15 an hour — or about $50,000 a year to $30,000.

Article continues after advertisement

♦ As previously reported, drivers’ pay would fall from $27.10 to $18.50 an hour. “It would cut my pay 32 percent, from $53,700 to $36,500,” longtime driver Rick Sather tells the site. “It breaks the union when those jobs are replaced by $13-an-hour part-time workers who get no benefits.”

I’ve written a bunch about the newsroom cuts, but it seems pretty clear the Strib sees bigger savings whacking anyone whose job is tied solely to the physical paper. The Teamsters are being asked to take more sizable reductions, and have resisted more fiercely; for example, they rejected summertime concessions the newsroom accepted.

That steadfast refusal could make the Teamsters more vulnerable in court; TDU paints management’s insistance on big cuts as “just going through the motions in an attempt to persuade a bankruptcy judge that it tried to reach an agreement.”

As I’ve noted before, labor now feels they have little more to lose in Chapter 11. It’s a hell of a dice roll.