Ten months of contentious negotiations and a strong community campaign have led to a tentative, 31-month agreement effective September 1, 2011 to March 31, 2014 between Gatehouse Media/Journal Star and the Peoria United Media Guild Unit 86.
Many of the company’s most disputed requests were withdrawn from the proposal, including cuts in pay, vacation, overtime, severance, and mileage reimbursement, increases in medical premiums, changes in job classifications, pay scale, and job security, and the outsourcing of copy desk work.
Unfortunately, the controversial issue of outsourcing the circulation department and the elimination of about 36 union jobs remains intact. An enhanced severance package for outsourced employees has been negotiated.
The complete text of the proposal will be available for members early next week, including a spreadsheet detailing the dollar amounts of severance for circulation employees and signing bonuses for all employees.
During a question-and-answer session Friday, members of the Bargaining Committee – Phil Luciano, Danielle Hatch, Chris Kaergard, and Tom Butterfield – and Darren Carroll of The Newspaper Guild outlined the pros and cons of the proposal.
The committee explained its support for the proposal and the potential consequences of rejecting it. They also reiterated their commitment and willingness to lead the Guild’s organizing efforts in the event of a rejection, and to prepare for the next contract negotiations if the proposal is accepted.
Guild members will meet for discussion on the proposal at 12:30 pm. on Thursday, June 14 at the West Central Illinois Labor Council AFL-CIO (Labor Temple), 400 NE Jefferson Ave. in downtown Peoria. Voting will occur at that meeting and will be closed at 2 p.m. that day.
By The Newspaper Guild’s national bylaws, absentee ballots are NOT allowed for a union-ratification vote. You must attend to vote. The bargaining team encourages all members to vote on this important issue.