The news out of bargaining talks Wednesday remains serious.
Management said its target date for moving 36 circulation jobs to a third-party vendor is June 1.
Management also said GateHouse corporate is soon to release, as part of Project Apple, its plan for consolidating and/or outsourcing copy desk and pagination work – likely within the next few weeks. They talked about this in conjunction of eliminating 9 to 13 jobs within our newsroom.
We will be meeting with the company again Thursday and will provide another bulletin after those talks conclude.
Stay tuned as Guild leaders reach out to you directly to let you know what you can do.
Today we resume contract negotiations with the company. So we thought we’d decorate the newsroom a bit.
Ballots were counted last night and the results tallied. Welcome our new (and not so new) Guild officers!
President: Dave Haney
Vice president – editorial: Phil Luciano
Vice president – circulation: Tom Butterfield
Secretary: Kathy Rynearson
Treasurer: Chris Kaergard
Steward – nightside: Scott Blicharz
Steward – dayside: Leslie Renken
Stewards – circulation: Dawn Callear and Tom Otten
Midwest District Council: Jennifer Towery
Appeals Board: Pam Adams, Adam Gerik and Troy Taylor
West Central IL Labor Council: Brad Erickson
Human rights delegate: David Zalaznik
Negotiations resumed Friday (Dec. 9) with the company. Where previous talks about the company’s desire to outsource work were more in the abstract, that stance has significantly changed.
Today, we were informed that the company desires to outsource the entire circulation department and has been in talks with the same company that is now doing the circulation work in Rockford, which saw its operations outsourced about two months ago. They presented us with some figures outlining a change they believe will save the company $1 million annually.
Further, when we resume talks in January they said they believe they will have details regarding future plans for outsourcing in the newsroom.
This is real folks.
The negotiating committee plans to meet with circulation members likely next week to discuss the matter. We need to hear your input.
Of course, we will be talking again the following week at our regular Guild meeting, on Wednesday, Dec. 21. We may look for an alternate setting in which to hold the meeting.
Guild members know this: there is much work ahead and everyone will have a part to fulfill.
Note: We signed an extension that takes the contract through the end of January. Provided there is no agreement in place, language in this new extension would have it continue on a month-to-month basis, until a contract is settled, or either side provides two weeks notice of an intent to terminate the contract.
Our soon-to-be-renamed local needs a brand-new logo to go with its brand-new name.
As members know, the decision to merge with Peoria came after a lot of thinking about where things were headed and what our local – and journalism – would look like in the future. As international unions continue to scale back staff and locals continue dealing with declining memberships, merging seemed a natural course of action. The only question was with who to merge.
Having already established a foothold in central Illinois in 2008 after successfully organizing the Pekin Daily Times – a daily that sits directly across the Illinois River from Peoria – joining forces with Peoria seemed almost obvious. So talks ensured, votes were taken and, as I write this, we are mere weeks away from having the whole thing finalized and running. But we wanted a new name.
We desired a new name because, even though our local number (36047) will survive, we didn’t want to start this new local with the demand that all incoming entities adopt our persona. Instead, we thought, let’s join together and create a new one. And we did: The United Media Guild.
The United Media Guild. The name works on several levels and the fact that there’s no geographical designation works well too. In fact, as our local grows and expands, such a broad designation may allow for an easier introduction as we go into new areas. Let’s hope so, anyway. In the meantime, a new name demands a new logo.
Interested parties should email their submission to email@example.com
The local’s Executive Committee will judge and the deadline for submissions
is Monday, November 7.
GateHouse Media Inc. is intent on opening the door to outsourcing work at the Journal Star.
Under the company’s current proposal, nothing could stop them from eliminating any and all jobs as they deem “necessary” within the newsroom or circulation departments.
They say they have no immediate plans for outsourcing work. But they also admit that position could change, even by year’s end.
Many have asked how or what work could be outsourced?
By the company’s admission, areas of news gathering may be outsourced, page design and layout – the copy desk – which includes copy editing, could be outsourced, as well could the entire circulation department.
We need to remain committed as a group internally and as a voice – to the community, if need be – that outsourcing work is a serious concern and that, as a Guild – the watchdogs of the Peoria area – wish to maintain the quality of the newspaper, not just for our livelihoods but for the betterment of all citizens here.
Negotiations continue on Tuesday, Sept. 20.
Negotiations this week could be characterized as informational. What is clear are the company’s priorities.
What are they?
Outsourcing. The company has proposed outsourcing Unit work as a protocol. Where or how or when is not known. It could be news writing, paginating, circulation …. look at the consolidation that has taken place with the printing of many newspapers at One News Plaza. Even the Springfield newspaper is printed here. Much of the same — proposed outsourcing over how their news is delivered — is what WEEK/WHOI-TV is fighting to maintain.
2-tier wage scale. This is another item the company suggests is a priority — new hires falling under a separate, lower pay-scale. Caterpillar union employees accepted this in the past and it has since caused issues with workforce equality.
Other economic issues, including healthcare costs and mileage reimbursements also have been identified, as is a proposed change to vacation and the way that time is accrued (there is no proposed change to the number of vacation days employees receive).
These items, especially outsourcing local work to outside parties, will have an effect on the quality of the news we produce and share to the communities we cover.
Our next bargaining dates will be Sept. 7-8.
Negotiations toward a new contract are officially underway.
During our first meeting on Tuesday, the Guild and the company exchanged initial proposals.
There is no date set for the next meeting, but that likely will come soon.
The proposal from management, as you might imagine, holds several concerns, including changes to wages, medical insurance and Guild shop. We’re far apart, but keep in mind that this is the first meeting. Because it is so early in the process, providing details would be counterproductive to the bargaining process.
The Guild has effectively and fairly represented its members and we plan to continue that course.
Tell your neighbors and your relatives what this Guild does for them and this community. Remember, we’re your watchdog — continued layoffs and continued changes to this Guild will have a diminished impact on the news you read, the news you have come to rely on and the news-gathering that maintains the checks and balances of their local government.
We are the people who bring you the Peoria area’s most in-depth news reporting every day. We are the people who help get the news to your doorstep every day.
We are Peoria’s watchdog.
The Peoria Unit of the United Media Guild, made up of non-management newsroom and circulation staff, is preparing to negotiate a new contract with owners of the Peoria Journal Star, GateHouse Media, beginning this month. Our current collective bargaining agreement expires August 31.
After a number of layoffs, including several this year alone, the Journal Star’s newsroom is a skeleton of its former self compared to just a few years ago. The United Media Guild wishes to maintain the prize-winning journalism and in-depth coverage our union has provided the newspaper over the last several decades but we are struggling with a corporate owner that is draining the Peoria Journal Star of our resources and people despite year after year of recording profits.
We help look after Peoria and the communities surrounding it. All we ask is that you show us your support as we look to keep providing Peoria-area’s news.