The St. Louis Post-Dispatch celebrated its 100th anniversary without publishing today as the 22-day-old strike by pressmen and dockhands continued.
Meanwhile, members of The Newspaper Guild, one of 11 unions at the paper, accepted a new three-year contract that provides an 18 percent salary incease and some cost of living increases.
At the same time, guild members voted overwhelmingly during an acrimonious two-hour meeing to cross picket lines put up by striking Teamster dockhands and pressmen beginning Wednesday morning. The 640 business and editorial guild members have honored the picket lines since Nov. 21.
The strike meant the paper could not editorially honor its founder, Joseph Pulitzer, who when he died in 1911 left $2 million to found the Columbia School of Journalism and the Pulitzer Prize, America's top journalism award.
Members of the International Typographical Union voted Sunday night to accept a new contract. An international vice president of The Newspaper Guild told guild members today that the ITU also has voted overwhelmingly to across the picket lines and return to work.
A third union, which represents the paper's photo-engravers, previously had agreed to extend its contract through February. Negotiations with all of the unions-except the dockhands-are continuing.
James C. Millstone, executive city editor of the newspaper, said reporters and other news employes are being asked to report for work at 9 a.m. Wednesday. But he added that the Paper has no plans to publish on Wednesday.
Millstone said the newsroom, where more than 100 persons would be at work during a typical afternoon, was very quiet. A skeleton staff of high-ranking editors was assembling summaries of events that have occurred since the strike began, he said.
While members of The Newspaper Guild and the ITU were voting to return to work, the drivers who deliver the paper-who are in a separate Teamster unit from the dockhands-unexpectedly voted to begin a separate strike against the private firm which operates under contract to the Post-Dispatch and the St. Louis Globe-Democrat.
The Globe-Democrat is printed under contract by the Post-Dispatch. Like the Post-Dispatch, it halted publication on Nov. 20. The two papers have a combined circulation of about 550,000. Members of the guild unit at the Globe-Democrat also voted today to accept a new three-year contract.
Negotiations between the pressmen and the Post-Dispatch were continuing tonight under the guidance of a federal mediator. A news blackout has been imposed on those talks.
The issue of manning-how many men are required to operate the presses safely and efficiently-is at the center of the dispute.
Late last week, there were published reports in the city's three interim newspapers-one of which folded over the weekend-that an agreement was near.
But Post-Dispatch guild members were told during today's meeting that many questions still must be resolved and that the pressmen have made new demands, including one for an annual bonus of $2,500 per man per year.
Before they voted to cross the picket lines, guild members were told that the guild has nearly exhausted its strike benefit fund. Members were told that if they are laid off by the Post-Dispatch, they will be eligible for unemployment compensation.