25 March 2009
New Transcontinental plant at the centre of controversy
FREMONT,CA—Transcontinental’s soon-to-be-completed $200 million printing plant in Fremont, California, is at the centre of a conflict between the Hearst Corporation, which owns the San Francisco Chronicle, and the Pressmen’s and Teamsters’ Union.

According to a story in the Columbia Journalism Review the Chronicle, a paper that is reportedly in danger of closing, is aiming to “break the Pressman’s and Teamsters’ unions, or at least force them into accepting a nearly 50% pay cut and what the unions regard as onerous work rules.”

The Teamsters, meanwhile, have no intention of backing down. Rome Aloise, the secretary/treasurer of Teamsters Local 853, told the SF Weekly on Jan. 22 that if the printing plant opens as a non-union shop then the Teamsters will start “an advertisers’ boycott—and that will stop the swirl of the Chronicle down the bowl and it will go all the way down.”

“It would be a death-wish to open that plant non-union,” Aloise said.
Transcontinental began its hiring process for the plant in January 2009, a company spokesperson said. “As far as whether the employees in Fremont will be unionized, that’s up to the employees.”

Transcontinental runs both unionized and non-unionized plants across  North America. "If the employees in California decide to unionize, we fully support them," said the spokesperson.

In 2006, Transcontinental signed to print the Chronicle worth $1 billion dollars over 15 years. That contract is scheduled to begin in June of this year, when the plant opens.

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