We met a second day with management on Thursday, spending much of the morning and early afternoon reviewing a new company proposal. The Guild responded with its own revised proposal.
Union security and dues check-off were removed from the bargaining through agreement to current contract language, but it’s apparent that the core issue since the start of talks — outsourcing — remains.
In response, Guild leadership has established two committees to be staffed by three members who will be responsible for organizing our communications strategy. As these committees build sub-committees and get into action, you will be asked to perform specific tasks along the way.
This is your Guild, and these are your jobs, or your co-worker’s jobs, that are at stake. We all must work together if there is any chance to save them.
New bargaining dates are being scheduled; the next meetings most likely will occur in February.
The following constitutes a summary of the key unresolved issues in our negotiations:
Outsourcing. As was mentioned Wednesday, management proposes to outsource and eliminate 36 circulation Guild jobs, and it has set June 1 as the target date. No additional details were provided about the company’s intent to consolidate, and eliminate, Guild work in the newsroom. As mentioned previously, however, job numbers there range from 9 to 13 cuts. Management said it will provide specific plans at our next meeting.Wages. Management has proposed a 5 percent wage cut. We are proposing 4 percent wage increases in each year of a three-year contract. The company also is seeking to increase for new hires the length of time, from five years to 10 years, to achieve the top pay rate.
Job Security. Management moved away from a proposal to eliminate seniority as the basis for layoff, but now is proposing a change that would allow layoffs by job title, rather than by department. This would make it easier for management to eliminate a classification of employees, such as copy editors.
Health Insurance. The company has proposed increasing premiums nearly double, from 25 percent of the premium to 45 percent. The Guild is proposing premiums remain at current levels. The company also proposes to require employees to pay 100 percent of the dental insurance premium.
Overtime. Management proposes to eliminate daily overtime provisions, replacing it with a weekly provision. In other words, if you worked more than 37.5 hours in a week, you would receive overtime. Currently, members receive overtime for work beyond the 7.5-hour work day each day. The Guild proposes the current contract language.
Night-time Differential. The company is seeking a reduction from 6 percent to 2 percent for such work shifts scheduled to begin noon and after. The Guild is proposing current language.
Holidays. The company is proposing to eliminate the birthday holiday for new employees. We are proposing the current contract language.Vacation. There is no proposal to change the amount of vacation; however, as has been discussed to the membership, there is a proposal from the company to take the current accrued vacation time and move to a grant-based system. The Guild has proposed moving accrued time into a bank that members can use, or seek to cash out their accrued time. Again, this would not decrease the number of vacation days you receive.
Leaves of Absences. Management is proposing the elimination of both family and parenting leave, which provides three days leave for a birth or adoption. The Guild is proposing current language.
Mileage Reimbursement. The company has proposed reducing the rate from 90 percent of the IRS mileage rate to 65 percent.
The Guild, as part of its proposal, seeks seeks changes to improve the 401k match, severance, personal day and equipment needs. It’s also proposing a new wellness program.