Wire Service Guild Posting (March 31, 1988)



Here's a March 31, 1988 posting from the Wire Service Guild, with the headline: UPI ANNOUNCES ANOTHER 150 LAYOFFS; PAUL STEINLE SAYS NO MORE STAFF REDUCTIONS 'FOR THE NEXT YEAR OR TWO':

Union representatives met Wednesday, March 30, with UPI President Paul Steinle, who announced 150 more layoffs of UPI employees and briefly outlined the company's business plan in advance of the public announcement.

The latest wave of UPI layoffs, Steinle said, will be the last reductions in force "for the next year or two."

Steinle contended that the new management of UPI was seeking to stabilize the company. Guild President Kevin Keane told Steinle that UPI can return to stability by signing a fair, equitable contract with its employees.

Steinle did not respond.

Sean McCormally, chairman of the Guild negotiating committee, issued a statement noting that firings, coupled with resignations, mean that almost 400 UPI staffers have left their jobs since Nov. 1, when UPI imposed a drastic set of concessionary "work rules."

The union continues its challenge to the work rules, with one case pending before the National Labor Relations Board and the other in the arbitration process. As is typical in such cases, the legal challenges are progressing slowly.

"We agree with the WNW management that what UPI needs now is stability," McCormally said. "We believe the next step towards stability is for management to reach a fair and equitable contract with its employees."

McCormally said, "That added stability should prove attractive to potential investors."

Speaking for the union negotiators, McCormally said: "We are not seeking anything in the negotiations that costs UPI money beyond what has already been offered, or anything that would bar it from reorganizing to take advantage of new markets. But we are insisting our members have the protections guaranteed by a contract and by effective union representation."

He said, "While we regret that many of our colleagues are losing their jobs, we were happy to hear Paul Steinle assure us this morning that there will be no more layoffs, beyond the 150 announced today, and that UPI's staffing level is set for the next year or two."

McCormally, of UPI Washington, concluded: "We have already seen 115 people fired and more than 100 resign since November. That means nearly 400 people who devoted their talents and energies to helping keep UPI afloat through these trying past few years have been lost and UPI is poorer for that loss."

Steinle also responded to repeated union demands during the past few weeks that overdue employee expense and medical claims be paid in full. Steinle said the company would pay them by the end of April. The union has filed for arbitration because hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid medical and expense claims. Some employees have been harassed by bill collectors because UPI has refused to pay the medical claims.

Attending the Washington meeting for the union were, in addition to Keane and McCormally, Jon Frandsen of UPI Washington, a member of the Guild's Executive Committee, and labor attorney Sidney Reitman.

UPI was represented by, in addition, to Steinle, Bobby Ray Miller, Dwight Geduldig and labor lawyer Barry Bevacqua.

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