The Indianapolis News Guild’s bargaining committee concluded our latest set of meetings Wednesday afternoon with representatives of Gannett regarding our attempts to come to an agreement on a new contract.
We have been making progress on issues such as overtime and expense reimbursement (related to travel compensation for use of a personal vehicle versus a company car), but we aren’t moving fast enough for the company’s liking. Given the state of the economy, and the company’s initial rejection of almost all of our proposals, the Guild today proposed that we would agree to a wage freeze for one year if the company would agree to extend the current contract for one year – a gamble that perhaps the financial climate would improve by 2010.
Gannett legal counsel Bill Behan declined our offer and, on the record, said the reason is that the Guild did not agree to other proposals that Gannett considers a priority. He also said it’s very possible that Gannett corporate may require him to prepare a new proposal that includes a wage cut, although no time frame was given.
The Guild’s package offer would have eliminated several of Gannett’s more onerous proposals, including doing away with seniority provisions related to layoffs and a “same as” clause that essentially gives the company the right to implement any measures it deems necessary to reduce business expenses, leaving the Guild no right to grievance or arbitration over such measures.
We meet again March 11 & 12 at the bargaining table.
— officers, stewards and members of the Guild contract team