'Best Contract Yet' — IAPE At 80

Remembering Key People And Events In Our Union's History

As we celebrate the 80th anniversary of IAPE, we'll take an occasional look back at key moments in our Union's history. Follow along with our #IAPEat80 series here.

In 1975, the Vietnam War finally came to an end, VHS and Betamax began their own battle for control of the videotape market, inflation was spiraling out of control, and IAPE members were being urged to accept a 12.5% pay increase.

The contract was ultimately accepted by IAPE members, but by a vote count of 595 to 177.

It was a different time.


From The IAPE Newsletter, June 1975

Board OKs New Contract; Members Vote June 26th

I.A.P.E. members will vote Thursday, June 26, on the proposed three-year contract with Dow Jones. Highlights of the contract appear on this page, with a detailed description inside the Newsletter. At a meeting Saturday, June 14, in New York, I.A.P.E. directors voted 17 to 1 to recommend acceptance of the contract.

The I.A.P.E. bargainers, who reached agreement with management on the evening of June 3, and the executive committee of the I.A.P.E. board also unanimously urged acceptance.

Directors present at the meeting who voted for the settlement were: Steve Doreson, George Kennedy, Chick Wojcicki, Dan Austin, Jim Borgia, Greg Conderacci, Hazel Fox, Bernie Garnett, Jake Matzke, Steve Sansweet, Scott Schmedel, Marilyn Sugarman and Maurice Sutton. Absent, but voting in favor by proxy were: Jackie Brooks, Eloyse Blumenthal, Doug Chambers, and Santo Fruscione. Nick Thomas, also absent, cast by proxy the lone vote against the settlement.

Dow Jones has indicated that if union members ratify the contract on June 26, new salaries and retroactive sums will be reflected in pay checks distributed Thursday, July 17. The proposed 12.5% minimum compensatory pay increase and the new scales are retroactive to Feb. 1, the starting date of the new contract. Company officials said they would try to minimize the effects of income-tax withholding on the retroactive lump sums due to employees.

The overall economic value of the proposed settlement is difficult to determine. Some employees still rising through the scales will receive somewhat more than a 12.5% pay increase for 1975. The increased company payments for insurance premiums will mean more take-home pay for everyone, but the amount will vary according to whether an employee has coverage for dependents.

I.A.P.E. and Dow Jones estimate the total added expense for the company at between 0.5% and 1% of the I.A.P.E.-represented payroll.

Improvements in several other areas of the contract also add to the dollar value of the settlement. Those areas include: Shift differential, overtime on a scheduled day off, insurance for regular part-timers, minimum severance for laid-off employees, and the mileage rate.

Except for the retroactive compensatory and scale pay increases, the contract improvements become effective with ratification by I.A.P.E. members, or as soon thereafter as Dow Jones can make changes.

Questions about the settlement proposal can be directed to I.A.P.E. directors, representatives, and officers and will be answered promptly.

Pact is Probably Our Best Yet

The following is an article by Scott Schmedel, a WSJ reporter and past president of I.A.P.E., who was co-chairman of the Bargaining Committee.

The 1975 contract settlement being offered to I.A.P.E. members is probably the best we've ever won.

The compensatory increases of 12.5% in 1975 and 10% in 1976 are certainly the highest pay rises ever. The increase in insurance-premium payments isn't just large; it represents the first time the company has paid the entire cost of basic insurance for dependents, even if that's only until June 30, 1976 (please see details of insurance agreement).

The fifth week of vacation, insurance for regular part-timers, the agency shop, and minimum severance pay for laid-off employees all are major improvements that have taken years and several negotiations to achieve.

We've also made significant progress in employee rights: Severance pay in case of dismissal for refusal to transfer, no matter what job you hold. The presence of a union observer at any disciplinary session.

The only previous contract that could rival the historical importance of this one probably is the agreement in which we won the 80% compulsory membership clause.

All in all, your I.A.P.E. bargainers are confident this is a fair settlement that more than meets the basic needs of I.A.P.E. members and our union. I don't believe any one of us has any lingering feeling that we could have done better by bargaining longer or differently.

As in every negotiation, though, we didn't get everything we wanted. The two most important omissions were a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) and a supplementary pension plan. These items were major issues right up to the last moment, and management knows that we will bring them up again-along with the other demands we withdrew-in future negotiations.

We still believe that a COLA is the best way to protect both the employee and the company against the ravages of inflation. Our price for withdrawing the demand was a high one-the guaranteed minimum pay increase of 10% in the contract's second year; the large increase in company payments of insurance premiums, and a reopener in the contract's third year for all economic items. Moreover, in giving up COLA for the time being, we insisted even more emphatically that we had to have other contract improvements, such as the agency shop, that management was resisting firmly. In sum, we think we made overall gains, despite the lack of COLA.

As for our pension proposal, we recognized that it wasn't specific, and we hoped that management would join us in seeking a solution to the problems of retirement benefits. Management didn't agree there are any problems, and it challenged us to come up with a specific plan. Doing that will take some time, but we refused to postpone this matter for a full three years. Therefore, we insisted that pensions be included in the third-year reopener. That will give us just about enough time to retain a consultant and determine exactly what we need.

Please note that leaves of absence are another item included in the reopener, as the result of last-minute hard bargaining before we agreed to drop temporarily our demands in that area.

Among the last issues to be resolved, by the way, was Dow Jones' demand that there be some sort of ceiling, or maximum, on compensatory pay increases — a provision that would have hurt our highest-paid, most-experienced, and most-valuable co-workers. That demand, we made it clear, was absolutely un-acceptable.

The Bargaining Committee, in sum, believes this contract should be acceptable to every member. And check your calendars: I.A.P.E. will be back at the bargaining table in barely 18 months.

The Bargaining Committee would like to thank those offices and individual members that sent petitions and letters to management supporting us and that sent the Bargaining Committee messages to encourage us and stiffen our determination. The Detroit, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, Minneapolis, Cleveland and Cincinnati offices were particularly alert. We're sorry we can't mention everyone or thank you all personally.