Category Archives: Grievances/Arbitration

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

A ‘No’ to us: How about ‘No’ to them?

Highlights of this electronic-only edition: Indy News Guild upset over Gannett CEO salary; company rejects request to renegotiate contract to allow for potential of wage increase; we urge all members to resist taking part in any voluntary extra-curricular activity that comes from HR; next Guild meeting is Tuesday March 30.

This is meant for Guild members’ eyes only.

WE’LL PROTEST:
As unveiled by the Gannett Blog, our parent company paid Chairman and CEO Craig Dubow $4.7 million last year, a sharp increase over the $3.1 million he took home in 2008 … and his 2009 pay included a bonus of $1.5 million that came after he engineered record layoffs and other cost cutting across the company. Other execs got similar bonuses.The Indy News Guild intends to send correspondence to all the directors of Gannett protesting these perks. We strongly believe in capitalism and earning/keeping the fruits of one’s labor – but not earning it by (to borrow an expression) climbing over the bloodied bodies of our employees — and to the ultimate detriment of the company. The executives instead should set this money aside for, among other purposes, to help pay off Gannett debt.

SEND A MESSAGE TO THE BOARD:
Check your Star e-mail (it should have hit your inbox around 1 p.m. Friday) carefully for a 2010 Gannett shareholders’ meeting update that links to the Web site where stockholders can either attend or cast an absentee ‘proxy’ vote for the May 4 meeting. If you own even 1 share of Gannett stock (like through a 401k) you should have received an e-mail correspondence. (The Web site to read the proxy is http://bit.ly/bXLzCy) Unfortunately, the subject line in the e-mail was nondescriptive and coyly worded, and the e-mail may have been easily put to trash or disposed of. It’s worth resurrecting, in Guild officers’ opinions. We read over the 96-page document. Here’s how we recommend you vote on the four proposals, based on the best way to send a message of protest to the board of directors regarding their ’09 bonuses and executive pay. Will your vote make a dent? That’s up to us to decide.

  • Proposal 1.  Re-election of all 10 directors, including Craig Dubow. Our suggestion: [[Vote to Withhold from all nominees]]
  • Proposal 2.    PROPOSAL TO RATIFY Ernst & Young LLP as the Company’s independent registered public accounting firm for the 2010 fiscal year.  [[Vote For]]
  • Proposal 3.    PROPOSAL TO APPROVE the Company’s amended and restated 2001 Omnibus Incentive Compensation Plan. [[Vote Against]]
  • Proposal 4.    SHAREHOLDER PROPOSAL relating to the use of tax gross-ups as an element of compensation for senior executives.  [[For]]
  • Notes: #4 is interesting — a grassroots campaign by a Gannett shareholder that would ban senior executives from receiving any tax “gross-up” payments — which basically perks on a perk. Gannett had to list this proposal in its proxy but urged an ‘AGAINST’ vote. We say vote ‘FOR’ it.

UPDATE: GANNETT SAYS ‘NO’ TO OUR WAGE PROPOSAL:
In 2009, Indy News Guild members twice made voluntary pay concessions in an effort to help the company through a difficult economic time. Instead of insisting the pay provisions of our existing contract be fulfilled, members twice voted to accept one-week unpaid furloughs without receiving any concessions from the company. Last August, our members also agreed to a contract that included a 10% pay cut and a wage freeze for its term, based on the company’s claim that this was an economic necessity.

So when the company recently announced the end to the company-wide pay freeze as of April 1, the Guild invited Star management to alter the contract with a side letter that would make Guild-represented employees eligible for merit raises at the company’s discretion. The eligibility for merit raises would end if the company returned to a wage freeze for non-union employees. Their e-mail responses to Guild president Tom Spalding, who issued the proposal with the backing of officers and stewards, were disappointing. Ryerson did not address merit raises directly, choosing to continue to emphasize the general economic downturn for newspapers in general. Wrote Ryerson: “I can’t speak for the company.  I do know that job cuts here have been far less than at other papers such as San Francisco, San Jose and Baltimore, and that we’re doing all that we can to hold on to the jobs we have.”James Keough, vice president of human resources at the Star, wrote to Spalding: “As you know and have acknowledged, there is no merit pool for the duration of the current contract. I certainly understand where your bargaining unit members are coming from on this. Dennis also raises a good point. The company has no interest in entering into negotiations on this issue.”

… SO LET’S SAY ‘NO’ TO THEM:
In response, the Indy News Guild recommends that its members say “no” to any workplace related volunteer HR (i.e. outside-the-newsroom) initiative now through August 2011. The Guild asks its members, for example, to not serve on any Employee Newsletter Task Force or the Engagement Team or any other type of extracurricular activity that is developed that you spot and that you let us know about. That includes skipping the publisher’s meetings. Officers would immediately reconsider this ‘non-involvement stance’ if the company changes its mind about the wage freeze being lifted for all.

In addition, members should follow the letter of the contract. This includes not changing work hours with less than one week’s notice. If you are required to work overtime on any day during a work week, you cannot be required to work fewer hours on a different day in that work week to avoid qualifying for overtime. The contract requires one week’s notice to change your work hours. If you are being required to work overtime, you should be paid the overtime rate and not forced to change your work schedule without the required notice. Your schedule and work hours should be posted two weeks in advance. Work the hours you are assigned. If you work additional hours, you should be paid overtime. If you have any problems with a supervisor about this, contact a Guild officer or steward.

WE SUED:
The Indianapolis Newspaper Guild, which represents about 180 newsroom and building service employees, with the help of the international Newspaper Guild, is suing The Star to preserve its arbitration rights, and possibly win back the jobs of some people who were laid off last summer. This was done after management at The Star rejected the Guild’s grievance over the layoff of eight employees in July and then refused to submit it to binding arbitration as required by our contract. We have received help from former officers and employees, including former Guild president Marc Allan and former secretary Syliva Halladay, as we prepared our case. After gathering the necessary evidence, the Guild filed the lawsuit Feb. 5 in U.S. District Court against Indianapolis Newspapers Inc. and Pacific and Southern Co., subsidiaries of Gannett. The Star editors were made made aware of the lawsuit and chose not to report on it with a news story. The Indianapolis Business Journal did. At issue is whether some sections of the Guild’s contract, which expired Dec. 31, 2008, no longer were in effect while the Guild and the company were in contract negotiations. The company contends our right to seek arbitration was not in force when the previous contract expired Dec. 31, 2008. The Guild contends the “evergreen clause” in the contract keeps the entire contract and all its provisions in force while the two sides are engaged in negotiations. “It’s procedural, but it’s important because if we win — and we think we will — it preserves our right to challenge the July layoffs,” Guild President Tom Spalding told the IBJ. “Our goal is to get these people rehired.”

OTHER ISSUES WE’VE BEEN INVOLVED WITH

Exempt most union employees from the finger-scanning time card system, Guild asks:
The Indy Star staff was informed in January that Gannett intends to put a Kronos “fingerprint representation” scanner into use in the coming months 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 formally requested 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 of you who don’t get OT are already exempted.) We are awaiting their answer.

The Guild will object to any scenario in which an employee is subject to discipline or put on a formal Performance Improvement Plan over ‘scanning issues’ where they need to repeatedly have a clerk/editor manually make fixes to the computer system. We feel this system is ill-timed …  and the Guild does not support this change, but will strictly monitor it. Is their an upside? Well, the Guild has been assured by human resources the company wants to make sure all employees are paid for all the time they work. If a reporter takes a call from a source or an editor checking facts on a story after clocking out, this time will count toward the 40-hour work week. Just make sure to track every second and keep your supervisor aware of time situations — call Downtown and make a night supervisor aware so that your time is properly credited. The Guild’s position is a fingerprint-image scan system is not the best way to keep track of the work hours for reporters and photographers whose jobs take them away from the newsroom much of the time. We’ve advised them of the headaches and urged them to implement a system that would allow employees to electronically input their hours into a database much like we do for time-off requests, etc. They won’t go for it.

Parking lot changes:
The Guild has made no secret of its questioning of the money the company charges employees to park in the Downtown multi-story parking garage, although it is not a situation we have jurisdiction over. Revised payment deductions began March 14 that make the rate $30 per month for daysiders and $16 for nightsiders. The company says the parking rates are reasonable. We are concerned due to the plans by the company to charge employees who park in the uncovered surface area (mainly photographers who make frequent trips off the lot). However, those users are “grandfathered” until August 2011 and won’t have to pay, according to what we have heard from employees, which is good news and will give the Guild time to talk to union members affected by the eventual increase.

Go Ted and Abe:
Congratulations to reporter Ted Evanoff and former features reporter Abe Aamidor, also a former Guild president, who recently had their book “At the Crossroads” published. The book takes a look at the devastation the failing auto industry has done in Central Indiana and elsewhere.

Callback language, differential:
Although the company has challenged our grievance related to the July 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 are working to draft language for a call-back procedure. The Guild and the company are also working on language that will set up a flat differential to be paid to those who for Guild-represented employees who fill in for managers. We hope to have that system in place soon.

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 a better place to be. All five terms 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.

Vacation:

April 1 kicks in the vacation request time-tracking system. All requests for days off have to be OK’d within two weeks of their submission by your manager. And if they aren’t, let us know.

COME VENT!
Our Next meeting is scheduled for 2-245 p.m. Tuesday, March30 at the Musicians Hall, 325 N. Delaware St., if you want to address concerns, gripe about issues in the newsroom or just get your frustrations off your chest in a safe, collegial environment.

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Filed under 2009 Contract Negotiations, Events/Meetings, General, Grievances/Arbitration, Layoffs/Buyouts, Ongoing Issues

Bargaining set for Aug. 6-7, important developments

The Indianapolis News Guild has some important new developments to share with you regarding our ongoing effort to craft a final contract that both negotiating teams can accept and that you, our duespayers, can ratify soon.

Acting on the advice of our parent union, TNG-CWA, we proposed to the company that we involve a federal mediator at this stage of the negotiations. Having received no objections from our verbal and written communications about the mediator, we contacted Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service Commissioner Conrad Bowling and requested possible meeting dates from him. He offered Aug. 6 and 7 and we have accepted those dates. The company has agreed.

Also, we have filed a charge with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) against the company, based on threats that management made to the Guild in the course of discussions over possible bargaining dates. The company threatened to issue a “last, best and final” proposal if we would not agree to certain bargaining dates. When we informed them that we were unable to agree to the certain specific dates that management was demanding, the company issued that “last, best and final” proposal. This violates labor law on several counts. Bargaining dates must be mutually agreeable and not something that one side dictates to another. In addition, a “last, best and final” proposal is something that is normally given after all attempts at a mutual agreement have been exhausted. It is not supposed to be used as a punitive tool to force the union to meet before it is ready to resume discussions. We believe the company’s actions are premature, punitive, regressive and illegal retaliation for our refusal to be unnecessarily rushed back to the table, as well as retaliation for Guild members daring to reject their previous package offer. We are contemplating additional charges with the NLRB.

The company did this after accusing the Guild in a meeting last Friday of “stalling” after we asked for an extra week to reconstitute our bargaining committee, which was devastated by layoffs of team members Sylvia Halladay and Michelle Watson. Simply put, the company still wants at least a 12 percent pay cut from the Guild-represented employees. See below for more details about what the company is now seeking. We also asked management to provide us with answers to an information request that they have had for many weeks now, and the company told us that their response to our request for information was contingent on our agreeing to their bargaining dates (another violation of labor law). They did eventually provide us with a response but it is lacking in any substantial details.

Star management and Gannett corporate lawyers want people to believe that we are unduly dragging out negotiations. Given the circumstances, we firmly believe we are acting appropriately in seeking the time to fully reconstitute our bargaining committee and seeking more information about the company’s supposed financial needs. We have NEVER refused to bargain; we have not agreed to the company’s timetable as to when the next meetings will take place and as a result, they have resorted to bully tactics. By the way, the company has never given us any explanation why they feel the meetings must take place right away.

Our motto since talks began in January is “Negotiate, don’t dictate” and we have sacrificed our pay through two furloughs and lost valued comrades. Given the economic climate, we believe that Guild members would agree to a wage freeze for two years and might accept some type of pay cut – especially if that cut isn’t permanent, or would improve when Gannett sees ad revenues improve.

But Gannett is claiming economic needs without providing proof, and they have so far failed to provide any relevant information to us regarding their justification for a double-digit percentage pay reduction. Guild President Tom Spalding asked Indy Star Publisher Michael G. Kane for an explanation of the numbers and was rebuffed, as many of you heard.

The Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service is an agency of the United States government that handles arbitration and mediation of labor disputes and contract negotiations. We are hopeful that the neutral mediator will be of assistance in reaching understandings that can lead to a finalized tentative agreement that both sides can accept. As we said before, we’re waiting to see if the company will accept the mediator’s invitation to meet.

Further complicating these negotiations is the fact that the company has been sending out mixed messages. They started on April 17, when we were told in a memo: “While Star Media has seen similar economic impact on our local business, we were able to fare better than the company as a whole.” They continued July 16, when Robert J. Dickey told analysts during a Gannett 2nd quarter earnings call: “I would tell you that our interstate group, which is Indianapolis, Midwest portion of the country, right now is our strongest performer.”

Another issue: The copy of the company’s last, best and final contract offer was purported by their side to (except for the wage proposal) to be identical to the tentative agreement previously provided to the Union – the deal that membership rejected 97-9 on June 30. Upon review, however, we find that the proposal is nowhere near identical and in fact we have identified a number of significant differences between this proposal and the previous package that was presented to Guild membership for a vote. This makes us wonder if we have received an incorrect version of their offer or if the company is being disingenuous.

How it shakes out (this is our initial review of their proposal and should not be considered a complete inventory of changes at this time):

  • An immediate 12 percent pay cut for all Guild represented employees, rather than a split 8% and 4% as in the rejected offer.
  • No pay increases for the two-year term of the contract, same as rejected offer.
  • Wage scales remain but no one advances for term of contract, same as rejected offer.
  • It completely eliminates merit pool language; rejected offer kept the merit pool language but the merit pool went dormant. New language would give managers a great deal of discretion regarding future merit pay increases.
  • Seniority language related to layoffs is much worse than the rejected offer.
  • Same 10 jobs lose OT.
  • More Guild positions become exempted than in rejected agreement.
  • Still allows paraprofessionals to write stories.
  • Still adds “custom publications” to management rights section.
  • Still adds “flexibility” language that leaves advertorial/editorial decisions to sole discretion of publisher and now does not include any exclusions of any classifications; rejected agreement excepted reporters, copy editors and photographers from advertorial work.

Changes from current contract there were not in rejected offer:

  • Outsourcing language has been put back in the offer; this was not in the rejected contract offer.
  • It eliminates the language that outlined how previous experience was used to figure out where new employees would start on the pay scale.
  • Adds a clause to sentence on poor review not being reason to reduce pay that says, “unless the Employer determines that a consistently poor performance rating in a current job classification merits a job transfer to a lower classification in lieu of termination.”
  • Employees who are removed from their positions by the company may move into lower paying jobs but only with Employer approval; current contract left decision to leave position for lower paying job to the employee.
  • Changes notification time of permanent change in work day (8 to 10 hours or 10 to 8 hours) to two weeks; current contract calls for 30 days notice.
  • Eliminates daily overtime.
  • Call backs guaranteed 3 hours of straight time minimum; current contract calls for 3 hours of OT minimum.
  • Allows scheduling of split days off for reporters based on requirements of beat.

View a PDF copy of the company’s contract proposal

And finally, it is uncertain whether the company is still demanding that the Guild drop our current arbitration on the December layoffs.

We’ll continue to fight on your behalf.

We are planning an internal survey to reassess what our members can live with.

Sincerely,
Tom Spalding
President, Indianapolis Newspaper Guild

In consultation with our International

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Filed under 2009 Contract Negotiations, Grievances/Arbitration, Layoffs/Buyouts

Gannett seeks to delay arbitration hearing

Gannett has contacted the representative from the international Newspaper Guild who will present our case in the arbitration for seven employees laid off in December, seeking to postpone the hearing set for July 28. The lawyer for Gannett contacted our representative the morning after our membership voted 97-9 to reject the company’s contract offer and its demand that the Guild drop the arbitration. The lawyer for Gannett said he needs more time to prepare.

The Guild officers instructed our representative to stenuously oppose this postponement. Our position is the company has known for six months this arbitration was coming and that is more than enough time to prepare. We asked him to stress to the arbitrator that we are representing seven employees who were improperly laid off seven months ago, creating a severe financial hardship for all of them. We are prepared and ready to proceed July 28.

Our representative informed us he expects the arbitrator to grant a reasonable postponement regardless of the Guild’s opposition. At this point, we await the arbitrator’s decision.

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Update on layoff arbitrations

The Indy News Guild challenged separate job cuts ordered by Gannett at
the Indy Star in August and December using the grievance clause in our
Contract. The company denied those grievances, and the Guild —
working with our national and regional advisers — has made progress
as we have sought to take the matters to arbitration.

From the August layoffs: four of the five people laid off were the
most recently hired within their job classification. The Guild
determined one employee was improperly laid off. That person chose to
accept a settlement rather than continue with the arbitration. Thanks
to Guild intervention, the employee will receive 13 additional weeks
of severance (on top of the original 26) and an extension of medical
benefits through May.

Regarding the Dec. 3 layoffs, a representative from the international
Newspaper Guild who will present our case to an arbitrator came to
Indianapolis on Jan. 27 and interviewed seven former employees. Our
representative determined all seven have strong cases to assert they
were laid off improperly. What the Guild will be seeking for all seven
is that they get their jobs back and that they receive all back pay
from the time their severance runs out until they are rehired.  The
Guild and the company have agreed on an arbitrator to hear this case.
The hearing and ruling on this arbitration are still several months
away.

Just a reminder on the Guild’s position on both rounds of layoffs so
far and any that might come in the future. Our position is not a hard
and fast  “last hired, first fired” but rather that the seniority
clause in our contract is followed. Once the company decides how many
reporters, page designers, copy editors, etc., it wants to lay off,
then the employees with the least Star experience in those jobs are
laid off. The contract also protects talented newcomers, allowing
exceptions to seniority for “outstanding ability.”

After the layoffs are done by seniority, the company then can move its
remaining employees around from section to section to fill its needs.
In December, the company did it backwards. It targeted long-time
employees for layoffs, then moved other employees working on other
sections and in other jobs to fill these vacancies.

The Guild position is that a reporter is a reporter, a copy editor is
a copy editor, a photographer is a photographer and so on. Employees
with these skills can work on news, sports, business, features or
indy.com. Many of our current employees have worked and currently work
on more than one section for the paper, its other publications and the
web site.

The company apparently agrees with our position. It chose to
move people around from section to section, from zones to downtown,
from the copy desk to reporting, but only after ignoring the seniority
rights written into our contract.

—  The officers and stewards of Indianapolis News Guild Local 34070

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Guild responds to Dec. 3 layoffs

The Indy News Guild filed a grievance with the company Dec. 12 over the Dec. 3 layoffs of 14 employees represented by the Guild. Our position is that the company, by its own admission — and not including the four workers who volunteered to be laid off – disregarded the seniority provisions of the contract, just as it did in August during the prior round of layoffs.

The company, as expected, denied our grievance. Led by our advisers from the Communications Workers of America/The Newspaper Guild, we are in the process of setting an arbitration date.

The Guild is not demanding that the Star follow a strict, across-the-board “last-hired, first-fired” policy, but demanding it follow the intent of the contract – deferring to seniority. What they did in December was use a random, hodgepodge approach – targeting experienced reporters and copy editors working on the features section, the zones copy desk and for the North Zone, then reassigning others to do that work, while retaining less experienced reporters and copy editors doing the same work on other sections as the senior employees who were laid off. That’s no security for anyone given the financial challenges facing Gannett.

We feel that the newsroom will again be hit by layoffs in 2009, but that’s just a guess. The Guild promises to carry on the good fight. As for those who were laid off, we’ve tried to keep in contact via e-mail and reached out with Kroger gift certificates. Let us know of any needs; there are many, and many of us want to step in when things get rough, so don’t hesitate to ask. We have strength in numbers and a great communication system. We promise to stay in touch.

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Guild meets with management on grievances

Thursday, December 18, guild officers met with management to discuss outstanding grievances. One grievance that had been filed early this year was for a newsroom employee classified as a paraprofessional who was writing stories, just as a reporter would, but receiving paraprofessional pay. The company wouldn’t promote this person to reporter, but in October agreed to pay a negotiated $8 differential for past stories he had written. The company also agreed to pay all paraprofessionals $8 per by-lined story for all future stories.

With this agreement, the Guild had dropped the grievance. But, since then, paraprofessionals haven’t been getting their extra $8 per by-lined story. Another problem is the company now says by-lined Q&As are “content”, not by-lined stories. The Guild has refilled its grievance and is seeking pay for paraprofessionals doing work above their job classification.

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