New grievance filed, Kronos, callback language, differential, election, vacation requests

New grievance filed
We officially notified the Star on April 19 that the Indianapolis Newspaper Guild, TNG-CWA 34070, is filing a grievance over the outsourcing of work performed by our members in the news room in violation of the contract. On Monday, April 5, The Star began using a page of baseball content that is produced by USA Today. This is work that previously has been done by page designers, copy editors and paraprofessionals represented by The Guild. This is a violation of the contract as stated on Page 1, “Jurisdiction of the Guild, Local No. 34070, shall include all work presently performed by the unit covered by this contract. Performance of this work … shall be assigned to employees of the Employer covered by this contract, provided that employees exempt from the bargaining unit pursuant to Article I below may perform bargaining unit work.”

The Guild MUST step in and defend our jobs — otherwise “free” and preproduced copy makes its way into the paper, not unlike the “News From You” stuff that runs in our zones sections. We hope everyone will read a Gannett blog piece on the arrangement between Gannett’s six N.J. newspapers and an employee of the New Jersey Devils who is providing coverage of the team for the newspapers. That may be a coup for the pro hockey team, says The New York Times, but it “puts the papers in the odd position of publishing news coverage supplied by the entity being covered.”

Kronos is coming
The Guild told the company today that it bregrudgingly accepts the implementation of the Kronos “fingerprint representation” scanner, which will be put into use in the coming months (likely June) to keep track of employees’ work hours. This will replace the time cards employees currently fill out and submit every two weeks. The company says this system cuts the amount of people and time required to keep track of employees’ work time and issue paychecks. The company’s human resources department and Star editor Dennis Ryerson have said it will take about 45 days for employees to get used to the system and then it functions without problems. After several meetings with the company, the Guild asked that all reporters, and all newsroom employees, who don’t have a set schedule in the Downtown office, be exempted from being required to use the Kronos system. (Those who don’t get OT are already exempted.) That request was rejected. About 100 IC folk will have to begin to “register” themselves in coming days to get inputted into the system. Zones and photogs are some that won’t have to fingerscan but will still have to record their hours in the new system. The Guild has asked editor Dennis Ryerson to have managers hold department meetings to address individual concerns and we’ve asked HR to ensure that e-records that contain personal details be deleted promptly to protect privacy. Those are matters under advisement. And, for better or for worse, all of us in the unit are going to be paid for all the time we put in the job.

Callback language, differential
Although the company has challenged a grievance filed by the Guild and related to the July 2009 layoffs, there is a provision in the contract related to layoffs that requires the company to give those who were laid off first preference for two years for any new jobs. The contract is not specific on the issue of a guaranteed rehire, and the Guild and the company have agreed on language for a call-back procedure. The Guild and the company also agreed to language that will set up a flat $20 per shift differential to be paid to those Guild-represented employees who fill in regularly in managers’ timeslots starting May 1.

Another election
Officers (five of them) are selected by the News Guild every three years, per bylaws, for three-year, unpaid terms. Your choice to become involved is certainly encouraged, and there are many rewards that come with being an officer — leadership, a chance to assist your coworkers, and the forum to make the workplace better. All five spots are “up” July 1, and we could really use your help — this is your union. Representation is especially welcome from photographers and building services, in particular. Anyone interested in finding out more about becoming a Guild officer should contact any of the Guild officers by June 9 — that’s 21 days prior to the June 30 election, as per our bylaws.

Vacation requests
According to the contract (Article VII, Section 2), vacation requests filed by April 1 should be approved or rejected by April 15. After that, supervisors have two weeks after a vacation or PL day request has been made to inform employees if their request has been approved. If you made your request before April 1 and have not been told whether your request has been approved, or if you make a request and are not told within two weeks, contract a Guild officer or steward.

As always, tune into indynewsguild.com for the latest.

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Filed under Events/Meetings, General, Grievances/Arbitration, Ongoing Issues

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