The bargaining team met with the company Wednesday for another round of talks.
Here is a summary:
1. Removal of all proposed language regarding outsourcing, except for outside circulation.Further, the proposal mentions “enhanced separation benefits,” to be negotiated.
2. Movement of obituaries outside the unit.
3. Language about publishing “common content” — such as national, international or feature pages – that could be created outside the unit and used universally by GateHouse pubs. Such pages, which management feels it has the right to run already, could mean less work locally.
4. The creation of four job classes:
b. reporters, photogs/graphic artists, copy editors, web producers
c. news assistant
Further, language elsewhere breaks out sports as a different class within the reporter designation, for the purpose of layoffs. That language also allows management to move the unit’s editorial personnel to different classifications, with seniority based on time in each classification. Thus, if a reporter with 20 years at the JS were to be moved to copy editor, that employee’s seniority would be wiped out and started anew.
Part of the proposal talks about four large groupings — as per above breakdown. The impact in that proposed section is of much less importance; it has to do with swing pay.
HOWEVER, other proposed language separates EACH one of those job titles — thus, five in category (b) — regarding layoffs and seniority. FURTHER, re layoffs and seniority, sports reporters would be an entirely separate job title, apart from other reporters.
This is a proposal, subject to bargaining. Management has indicated no hard line here; rather, management’s expectation is much further discussion on the matter.
5. Across-the-board wage reduction moved from 5 percent to 3 percent.
Aside from the reduced outsourcing language, the proposal was met with little positive reaction – and, at times, vocalized protestation.
Of course, all of these matters remain subject to bargaining, and we will respond with our own, new proposal at the next talks. The next session is tentatively slated for April 10.