A strike that has shut down St.Louis' two daily newspapers, the Globe-democrat and the Post-Dispatch, continued today despite a tentative agreement between the Post-dispatch and pressmen's union.
The tentative three-year agreement with the pressmen was reached at 6:30 a.m. after an all-night bargaining session. The pressmen are to meet Thursday to vote on the proposal.
No details of the proposal were made public immediately, but it is believed to include a slight reduction through attrition in the number of pressmen required to operate the newspaper presses and a substantial reduction in the number of shifts each pressman will work during a week.
The walkout on Nov.20 by the pressmen has idled more than 2,000 employes at the two newspapers. The Globe-Democrat is printed under contract by the Post-Dispatch. The two newspapers have a combined daily circulation of about 550,000.
Members of two other unions, meanwhile, today crossed picket lines set by the pressmen and the Teamster union dockhands at the Post-Dispatch. No incidents were reported.
Several hundred members of the Newspaper Guild and the International Tupographical Union reported for work for the first time in 23 days. Each employe immediately was give a lay-off letter telling him or her that "temporarily there is no work available for you to perform." Many employes went directly from the newspaper to apply for umemployment compensation.
Several reporters used their visits to the newsroom to remove copies of their articles from the newspaper's morgue. They said they planned to send out job applications with copies much longer.
Although the pressmen have reached a tentative agreement with the Post-Dispatch, the newspaper still faces problems with several other unions.
No negotiations have been scheduled with the dockhands, who are seeking an 8 percent annual pay increase. Several other unions, including the Newspaper Guild, have accepted 6 percent increases.
No further complicate the situation, members of the paperhandlers, who move rolls of newsprint near the presses, put a picket line around the Post-Dispatch building shortly before 6 p.m. tonight. No negotiations have been scheduled with the paperhandlers.
Members of the mailers' union have indicated that they, too, may reject the increase offered them. The mailers tentatively have scheduled a meeting on Sunday to discuss the proposed contract.
In addition, Teamster drivers for the firm that delivers both the Post-Dispatch and the Globe-Democrat have struck over wages. No negotiations have been scheduled in that dispute.
Officials at the Post-Dispatch have declined to predict when the paper will resume publication. However, publication of a special edition celebrating the paper's 100th anniversary, which Tuesday, has been postponed.That edition had been scheduled for publication this Sunday.