Category Archives: Ongoing Issues

Keep It Local campaign begins in Indy

Keep It LocalGreetings to all of you on this Labor Day 2010.

This week, the Indianapolis News Guild will distribute new signs that we hope you will all hang/showcase/display, on your desks.

The sign says “Keep it Local” … and this will kick off our publicity campaign against the Gannett hub concept that threatens to break apart our newsroom. We believe that consolidated hubs are a mistake and that the best way for journalists to serve readers is by having journalism done locally.

Similar outreach efforts are being coordinated or are planned this week at the other Gannett properties that have unions including Rochester, St. Louis and Detroit and Sheboygan.

Attached is a copy of our flier — locally produced, of course, by one of our expert designers. They’ll match in color and attitude our desk tents and lanyards.

We hope all of you will participate with us.

In solidarity,
The Indy News Guild leadership team

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Filed under 2009 Contract Negotiations, General, Layoffs/Buyouts, Ongoing Issues

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

Unpaid interns

Here are a few links to recent coverage on the debate on whether companies are now using unpaid interns for free labor.

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Filed under Ongoing Issues

Meeting reminder (2PM Tuesday); A letter to Gannett; A breach of Star ethics

Guild quarterly meeting: Our next meeting is scheduled for 2pm -245 p.m. March 30 [Tuesday] 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. It is NOT mandatory.

Kronos:
We’re still waiting to hear back from the company re: our objections.

New Ethics Breach:
The Indy News Guild officers and stewards have asked Star editorial NOT to allow any of our journalists’ work to be reused without their authorization as part of any in-house marketing or advertising campaign. This happened with disastrous results last week.

Features reporter TJ Banes wrote on summer camps in January 2007 — only to have the story “repurposed” and used with her byline as part of a metro section “summer camp guide” that was labeled a “special advertising feature” in the print Star metro section Tuesday, March 23, 2010.

The story and two photos were used without the writer’s or photographer’s knowledge and the content was manipulated to make it appear to be current. This wasn’t a case of an article being simply reprinted. It was altered to mislead readers in a way that could damage this reporter’s credibility with the sources of the original story. It was an embarrassment to the ethical standards the Indy News Guild has been pushing Star management to uphold since 2006, when the company first presented the idea of having journalists produce and edit so-called “advertorial” content.

The summer camp article is a glaring example of why the Guild has raised objections to the unit’s work being repurposed in this manner. It allows another department — marketing, custom content, momslikeme or whomever — to use our work in such a careless and unprofessional fashion that it reflects badly upon the journalism produced by those in the Star newsroom. Making it worse (in the Guild’s opinion) is that the tease to the “guide” above the Indianapolis Star masthead on A1 gave no indication this was an advertising product, conveying the impression that the summer camp material was produced by journalists. Look at the section and it is labeled “special advertising feature” in small type.

The Guild has asked for a meeting with management to discuss this issue. The Guild wants original reporters and photographers notified in the future if another department reuses a story or photograph. Guild members have the right to have their bylines removed from their work if they object to the way it is used. The online version of the story (which we spotted on indystar.com and asked to be removed from the site) had no markings that indicated it was advertising-produced.

This fiasco was embarrassing for everyone who works on the editorial side of the Star. It also violates Gannett’s written Principle’s of Ethical Conduct for Newsrooms which states, “We will be honest in the way we gather, report and present news” and “We will differentiate advertising from news.” To their credit a clarification was issued, the story was pulled off the Web and an explanation provided to the reporter.

Vacation:
April 1 kicks in the vacation request time-tracking system. All requests for days off between April 2 and Sept. 15 have to be OK’d within two weeks of their submission by your manager, as it is first-come, first-served. All newsroom managers have a copy of the contract.

Protesting to the top:
The Indy News Guild over the weekend mailed about 20 letters to members of Gannett’s board of directors, its biggest investors and even the federal securities and exchange commission (SEC) asking them to rescind the bonuses paid out to the company’s executives. We feel we needed to send these letters in light of what we experienced in 2009, and wanted to share with you the letters which are nearly identical. Here’s what they said:

“As shareholders and stakeholders of Gannett Co. Inc., we take exception to the bonus provided CEO, President and Chairman Craig A. DuBow.  Please rescind the award and pay a stipend commensurate for an individual who was out of the office recuperating from surgery for a large share of 2009.

Paying a bonus equal to 50 percent of the $942,000 base salary is an egregious abuse of our company’s resources and shows a callous disregard for shareholders. Concessions prevail for employees even as the strategy employed at McLean, Va., is still unfolding and may prove insufficient to ward off financial danger for our company.

Yes, GCI’s share price rallied in 2009, but so did the DJIA, and by a wider margin. Our share price has returned to only half its value of March 2008, while DJIA is about 20 percent off the mark, and the S&P 500 has performed even better.

A $1.5 million bonus in this case seems excessive and premature, as are the additional perquisites for Mr. DuBow noted in the current Proxy statement. These include membership in a country club and use of GCI aircraft for three years after leaving the company, the donation of GCI home office equipment, payment of Medicare supplements, and access to company-paid secretarial and technical assistance.

Had the GCI stock price remained in the range of the $78-per-share price prevailing when Mr. DuBow became president of the company, this bonus and perquisite compensation scheme might have been deemed satisfactory. In the company’s current financial straits, however, this is excessive generosity on the part of the board and is abusive to shareholders.

We might note the compensation for Mr. DuBow is clearly eroding employee morale here in Indianapolis, the No. 4 newspaper in GCI in terms of daily circulation. At the Star newspaper and indystar.com, leadership has been taking mandated unpaid furloughs. The Indy News Guild, which represents about 180 newsroom workers, has been forced to accept furloughs and a permanent 10% pay cut. The employment base is some 40 percent off the level in place when the newspaper was acquired by GCI a decade ago. News hole has been intentionally reduced, circulation outlets shrunk and employee headcount trimmed. The digital initiatives mandated by McLean have not offset the revenue slide on the print side.

Clearly, the company has tried to cut its way to prosperity.

On an end note, please indulge us on an observation particularly relevant to the workforce in Indianapolis. We have numerous posters in place identifying our core values — Lead, Innovate, Include, Respect. The excessive bonus flies in the face of these values. Please rescind the retirement perquisites and the bonus, and pay the executives a stipend commensurate to their contribution.

Regards,

The officers and stewards of Indianapolis News Guild, Local
34070
CWA-TNG Tom
Spalding, president
P.O. Box 44130
Indianapolis, IN 46244
www.indynewsguild.com.”

*Thanks for reading.

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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

Indy News Guild responds to fingerprint time-keeping and W2s

The Indianapolis News Guild informed Editor Dennis Ryerson by e-mail this evening that we are requesting the right to bargain any change to the current time-keeping system, based on conversations that officer and stewards had with staff, email you sent us, as well as peer newspapers we spoke to, none of whom use a fingerprint-like system in place of manual entry. [Some use a card-swipe, but in cities like Nashville, only newsroom employees with set hours (copy desk, design) use a swipe card.] We’ve asked for a meeting, and will keep you posted on the response to our letter [Read the attached email that we sent Ryerson today].

Also: Guild treasurer Geoff Ooley and other members curious about why they received an odd-looking name on official tax records by mail received this message from Star human resources: “The name on the 2009 W-2, Pacific and Southern Co., Inc., is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Gannett. This is an internal organizational structure change only, that was implemented by corporate. From time to time, Gannett Corporate restructures its operations for tax and other reasons. This change has no impact on you or employment. No additional action is needed for you to file your 2009 tax returns. Proceed as you normally would.”

— Officers and stewards of Indy News Guild 34070

Here’s the letter:

Feb. 3, 2010

Dennis,

In regards to the issue of the Kronos system:

The Star is certainly entitled to implement reasonable modifications to any time-keeping system that controls costs while protecting the sanctity of the contractually regulated 40-hour workweek. We assume the company’s goals are to reduce the hassle of manually collecting and inputting paper records. But the system planned by Gannett for the Indianapolis Star, as initially outlined by HR, seems unwieldy and counterproductive to your main goal of efficiency — and the Indy News Guild is formally requesting the right to bargain this before the system goes “live,” as it represents a change in past practice.

I hope you will urge to the highers-up here at the Star that the Guild would only be OK with switching to a card-swipe timekeeping system as a last resort — and that we definitely OBJECT to any type of finger or thumbprint imagery-based system. We are NOT AGAINST computerizing the time-keeping system, but why the company is fast-tracking an initiative before seeking input from the staff seems unclear to us. And any system needs to be applied fairly and logically.

Main issues (but by no means are they the only ones) we’ve identified: Employees will waste time trying to make sure they are “on track” and aren’t being shortchanged or aren’t “going over” as they progress through the 80-hour pay period; employees will deluge paraprofessionals or supervisors in their respective departments to adjust times at various points during the week, since this is a new system and they aren’t accustomed to the punch-clock concept — particularly if they take a lunch and forget to clock back in; and, how do you improve efficiency if you still have a manual-entry paperwork system for Guild-covered employees outside of the main office; and other Gannett papers vary, just like Indianapolis, in how they keep records.

The overwhelming preference among Guild members is that we maintain an “honor” system (employees turn in paper timesheets at the end of each two-week pay period).

HR Vice President James Keough told the newsroom via Q&A that Gannett has this Kronos system in place at Detroit, Cincinnati, Phoenix, Nashville and Rochester, among others … but we checked … and the newsroom in Detroit does not use a fingerprint system (just swipe cards).

Rochester has swipe cards but not a fingerprint system. Nashville has Kronos but the reporters and photogs don’t use it — just those on the design/copy desk, and by swipe, not fingerprint. Cincinnati’s newsroom has no system, contrary to what was told to us. Hawaii considered Kronos 3 years ago but it was abandoned when the Guild informed the Advertiser it would ask its members to track every second. The Arizona Republic reporter AND copy desk veteran I talked to on the phone — veterans of that operation — say they e-mail their time sheets to a coordinator each week, and said they are not sure where James’ information about Kronos use originated.

Why not a compromise: a Web site that would allows employees to type their hours into a database so those employees in the Downtown office (or working in the zones or remotely) could sign in and keep track of their hours. That would save paraprofessionals a lot of headaches; online producer Joey Marburger was working on such a system before he departed for Gannett HQ near D.C.

Lastly, here are some comments (names edited out) from the staff so you can get a general sense of the feelings across the newsroom, including zones:

  • What’s next? Raising our hands to ask if we can use the restroom? We do our work — they get our 40 hours (and then some). Morale is bad enough. I don’t see how treating us like 5-year-olds will improve it.
  • Honestly, my biggest concern is what do they do with the fingerprint once they have created the binary “representation” of the fingerprint for the machine? I don’t want Gannett to have a copy of any of my fingerprints, frankly.
  • What about time spent covering games, school board meetings, interview sessions. This seems like a ridiculous way to keep track of reporters’ time. I do a lot of work from home because I have a laptop and no computer at my desk and that’s way I’ve always worked. But it makes no sense for reporters who work in the office, either Can’t see how this works for anyone but copy editors and paraprofessionals who don’t leave the office.
  • I’m not sure I fully understand the repercussions of the Kronos system that would expose how much time it actually takes to make the daily miracle happen.
  • I think this system would be a nightmare for reporters. Especially since our hours are all over the place and we are pretty much at the beck and call of the copy desk, meeting, and our sources. I often work from the office, home, my car, over lunch breaks, etc.
  • If I start my work day up north at meeting or hard-hat tour in Noblesville, how do I get credited for that time? It would seem there will be people in this situation ALL the time, and the paperwork to fill in the gaps would negate the system’s efficiency.
  • There are a number of folks here who, for whatever reason, refuse to wash their hands properly after hitting the restroom. I’m not policing this, mind you, but I’m aware of it. It would seem a communal system that requires every one to touch it would be unsanitary. I keep anti-bacterial gel handy and touch as few doorhandles in this place as possible, but a new thing that requires everyone to touch it just sounds gross.
  • This system is inefficient for a working newsroom and an affront to employees already demoralized by the recent wage cuts.
  • If the company insists that every second of workers’ time be tracked electronically … then the Guild should insist that calls by editors to reporters’ homes for questions on stories, etc. continue but be “counted in” as part of the work week.

Reiterating: the Guild is NOT OPPOSED to computerized time-keeping but does object to the planned fingerprint time-keeping system and has questions that need to be addressed.

We look forward to more discussion on this issue, Dennis.

Thank you.

For the Indy News Guild 34070 —

Tom Spalding
president

cc: Guild officers, stewards

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Cell phone update

The Guild and Star management have been in back-and-forth discussion to develop a cell-phone policy to resolve a grievance we filed so staffers – primarily reporters – are provided with the tools to do their jobs. Some of you have been supplied company cell phones – a practice the Star is doing away with in exchange for providing a subsidy. The company intends to increase the number of staffers who receive a subsidy, but that will mean reduced amounts for those who already receive them. We are requesting the financials before any plan is agreed to so we can update our members on the overall impact.

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