'Village Voice' Union Set For Apocalypse

Maybe it's a little early to go around voicing our Chrismukkah wishes, but we don't care: This year, we'd love for just one alternative newspaper to happily survive and thrive. The New York Press is slowly dwindling into a whisper-thin shadow of its former self, and now comes word that the fine staffers at the still-venerable Village Voice are readying for some babymamadrama.

Apparently, management has a proposed a new contract which essentially rolls back benefits and compensates with a whopping wage increase of $15 per week (NB to all recent college grads: You sure you want to pursue print journalism?); the staffers smell bullhonky and are prepared to strike. We're not sure how an alt-weekly revolt works, exactly, but we hope it involves throwing granola at any scab who crosses the picket line.

After the jump, the full memo from the disgruntled Voicers, complete with heartbreaking talk of reduced health insurance and a 401(k) in crisis.

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Village Voice Workers Poised To Strike

NEW YORK: Faced with a harsh and insulting proposal from management, workers at The Village Voice — the nation s largest alternative weekly — are prepared to walk off the job for the first time in the newspaper s history.

As tense negotiations continue and a contract deadline draws near, the Voice s salespeople, designers, photographers, editors, and writers are united in the face of management s attempt to roll back hard-won benefits, undermine their bargaining power, and erode their ability to support their families.

In negotiations for a new contract to replace the agreement that expires at midnight on June 30, Voice management has:

demanded that workers pay more for their health insurance and switch to a less generous health care plan.

offered meager wage increases ($15 a week) paid for by reducing contributions to workers 401(k) plans — a raise that is unlikely to outpace inflation for most workers.

and insisted that terms for work on the Voice s website be determined in one-on-one deals between individual writers and the corporation, not through the collective bargaining that is required in a union shop.

The Voice, which will mark its 50th anniversary this fall, has long been an advocate for social justice and particularly the rights of workers in New York City and elsewhere.

Accepting an unjust contract is not how Local 2110 intends to celebrate the paper s 50th birthday. And its members are prepared to remind management that there s no party if workers aren t invited, respected, and fairly compensated.

Any and all coverage will be much appreciated. Please contact Ken Switzer, kswitzer@villagevoice.com, 646-752-1007, for more information. Thanks.