Roanoke Times union, Lee settle on new contract
Minimum full-time pay rate to increase by 12%
The Roanoke Times newsroom union said Tuesday it has agreed on a new two-year contract with owner Lee Enterprises, following a brief picket line last week.
Members of the Timesland News Guild, which represents 30 employees of The Roanoke Times and Laker Weekly, will receive 2% annual raises, and minimum full-time pay will rise about 12% to $40,000 per year between now and 2023, according to a statement by the union. Equity adjustment raises also will take place, meaning that nearly half of the guild will receive raises of more than 2% this year.
Negotiations started in mid-February, with sticking points on wages and mileage rates. Layoff policies, more parental leave and paid time off also are included in the contract.
Lee had offered wage increases between 1% and 1.5%, while the guild sought an increase of 4%. The Iowa-based media company, which owns 31 newspapers in Virginia, also wanted to lower the mileage rate from 34 cents per mile to 32 cents per mile, while the union sought the 58.5 cents-per-mile rate set by the IRS. Lee announced it would voluntarily increase its rate by several cents beginning in April, the union said.
“We fought incredibly hard for additional pay raises and a higher minimum so The Roanoke Times can stay competitive with other papers,” Roanoke Times staff writer Alison Graham, the union’s vice chair and bargaining committee member, said in a statement. “Wages and other benefits ensure that our newspaper can continue to punch above its weight and drive important news coverage in Southwest Virginia.”