This afternoon, the bargaining committee of Indianapolis News Guild 34070 voted 9-0 to NOT take Gannett’s two-year contract offer, dated 4-15-09, to our membership for a vote at this time. We informed the company that our agreement to hold an election on their proposal was contingent upon the Guild reaching an understanding about how the flexibility language (i.e. advertorial) would be applied. This did not occur on 5-7-09, when Gannett informed the Guild that it would not modify that part of the package.
Simply put, the Guild wanted an ironclad guarantee that protects information center (i.e newsroom) employees from being used to work on advertising content. We didn’t get it.
The Guild told the company that we stand ready to sit down and discuss modifications to their proposal, and that we have ideas, based on weeks of group and individual discussions we have had with membership, as well as discussions with our international advisors, on how we can both achieve a deal that meets both of our objectives.
Beyond that issue, those of us doing labor negotiations felt like, in talking to duespayers, that the conditions in the proposal as outlined on indynewsguild.com (a 12% pay cut, etc.) were too harsh — containing sacrifices to pay, to ethics, and to the aspects of the contract that we hold dear, including seniority. We said “no” to the company because we felt the membership was telling us “no.” We are hoping that the company will actually sit down and make a few tweaks to their 4-15-09 proposal; if you have suggestions as to what the news and building services staff can live with, please let us know.
Repeating: There will be no vote held, at this time.
We appreciate your support, feedback and solidarity. We’re working to schedule another info session with you later this month.
— Tom Spalding, president