The Washington-Baltimore Newspaper Guild has accused The Washington Star of improperly moving to terminate nearly 50 reporters, advertising salespersons, artists and other white-collar employes.
Ray Dick, a representative for Local 35 of the guild, said yesterday that the union plans to seek a court injunction to try to block the terminations. The guild has already filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board alleging contract violations and scheduled a meeting of Star employes for Monday to discuss the issue, Dick said.
In a recent bulletin, the guild charged that the terminations were "just the first of many" that are expected to occur at The Star and asserted that The Star's management has a 'hit list' for persons it no longer wishes to employ." s
"It's not clear to me what's being termed a 'hit list' in that I have not seen one," Star publisher George W. Hoyt said in a telephone interview last night. "I can't respond to it."
Hoyt said that some layoffs are scheduled because of increased technological efficiency and other economic factors. He attributed other personnel changes to staff reorganizations. But Hoyt said he was not prepared to comment on the total number of job terminations and other personnel shifts at The Star.
"There were different rationales for each one [of the personnel changes], as I understand it," Hoyt said. He declined to comment on the complaint filed Tuesday with the NLRB by the guild. The union says it represents 470 Star employes.
Guild representative Dick said the union has received notices from The Star's management listing 20 employes who are being terminated. These, he said, are two reporters, one editorial assistant, seven advertising salespersons, two telephone ad solicitors, two artists and six commercial employes.
Five other reporters and one ad makeup employe were previously discharged, Dick said. In addition, Dick said, the guild has learned that at least 22 other white-collar Star employes are slated for termination.
Dick and other persons familiar with the job terminations said that some employes were in effect pressured to leave by being offered a choice of either accepting a job they did not want or quitting with severance pay.
In its NLRB complaint, the guild contended that "individual bargaining with employes" about job terminations is illegal because The Star's management failed to review the issue with the union. Some of the terminations stem from "age discrimination," Dick asserted. He said that one ousted Star employe is 63 years old.
In the interview, Hoyt compared the job changes at The Star with shifts in the advertising staff at The Washington Post. "We understand that there are substantial changes and reorganization going on over there [at the Post]," he said. The Post is reorganizing its advertising staff, but no advertising layoffs have been announced.
According to Dick, the guild views many of the job terminations at The Star as improper because, he said, the newspaper's management has failed to justify them on economic or other grounds. As a result, he said, the discharged employes have been denied contractual rights to job security and possible arbitration.