Gannett Co. has reached a settlement agreement with the Memphis Newspaper Guild and eligible, laid-off employees will receive severance pay and short-term health insurance.
The settlement was announced Wednesday afternoon by Guild president Daniel Connolly who said the agreement was reached Tuesday afternoon.
“We regret that it took so long to achieve a fair settlement, but the worst part of this conflict is behind us,” Connolly said.
As part of the agreement, the Guild will drop its complaint against the company with the National Labor Relations Board, Connolly said.
Here’s Connolly’s statement in full:
“A few days ago, our labor union hung up signs throughout The Commercial Appeal's offices that read ‘Shame on Gannett - Pay the Severance.’
Newspaper Guild of Memphis
The Guild hung "shame on Gannett" posters around the office at the newspaper's headquarters at 495 Union.
Yesterday, we took all those signs down. The reason: we signed settlement agreements with the company Tuesday afternoon, ending a severance dispute that had lingered for more than two months.
All twenty-three former employees in advertising and editorial will receive cash payments, and those who had health insurance through The Commercial Appeal are eligible for up to six months of continued health insurance coverage, fully paid by the company.
We anticipate we'll have to do lots of review and followups over the next few weeks as we make sure that our former employees receive proper payments.
We regret that it took so long to achieve a fair settlement, but the worst part of this conflict is behind us.
As part of the settlement, we have agreed to drop our formal complaint through the union grievance and arbitration process as well as our federal National Labor Relations Board cases challenging the company's actions.
I want to thank Guild vice president Wayne Risher for his hours of hard work on this matter, Guild office manager Amy Olmstead for her diligence and care in communicating with our former employees and relaying their concerns to the company, and our attorney Sam Morris for guiding us through this complex process. I also thank the Guild board members for voting to authorize the union to pursue an aggressive legal course that helped us get to this point.
And I want to thank everyone else at The Commercial Appeal, in our families and in the broader community for your interest and support for what we're doing. It does make a difference.”