| March 25, 2020

Across the nation, city and state governments are mandating “shelter-in-place” orders to protect American workers and slow the spread of COVID-19. During these shelter-in-place orders, only businesses that are deemed “essential” are able to operate. Many of these companies know that these front-line essential workers are putting themselves and their families at risk to help the nation during an international health crisis and are instituting new safety measures, quarantine and/or furlough pay, and hazard/incentive pay.  In light of Governor Pritzker’s and Mayor Lightfoot’s “Stay at Home Order”, Teamsters Local 727 demanded that Chicago Tribune provide paid sick leave and hazard pay for the dedicated newspaper delivery drivers who will continue to work during the worldwide pandemic as “essential” employees.

Chicago Tribune is an affiliate of the Tribune Publishing (NASDAQ:TPCO), a multi-million-dollar[1] media conglomerate that owns multiple newspapers in eight separate markets, yet when Teamsters Local 727 inquired about  this massive Company’s COVID-19 sick leave policy for its Chicago Tribune market, the Company responded that no such policies existed.  Even more outrageous, Management suggested that if a driver becomes ill or must quarantine due to COVID-19 exposure, they should use their accrued vacation time or file for unemployment benefits while they are unable to work. While many employers across the country are focused on keeping their employees safe and rewarding them for working during this time, the Chicago Tribune is still putting profits before people.

“Right now dissemination of information about COVID-19 through media sources like the Chicago Tribune is vital to people’s safety. The Chicago Tribune is choosing to punish the frontline workers that quite literally deliver this news. These workers are putting themselves and their families at risk and deserve increased safety protocols, hazard pay, and paid leave. Anything less is shameful. Teamster Local 727 will keep fighting until this multi-million dollar company does right by its workers,” said Teamsters Local 727 Secretary-Treasurer John Coli Jr.

Members with questions should contact Melissa Senatore, (847) 696-7500

Nothing in this article should be read as the union’s waiver of any legal argument, position or grievance(s), or as a waiver of any rights, arguments, or defenses under any contract, collective bargaining agreement, or applicable law.  The union does not forfeit its right to make any and all supplemental arguments.


[1] See, for its March 4, 2020 press release on its 2019 earnings.


Category: Newspaper, Union News

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