Under the Company’s initial offer (page 1, page 2) Tuesday, it could cut your pay and change your days off without your consent, even splitting them so you could have Mondays and Thursdays off. The Company could pile on an unreasonable workload – and then refuse to pay severance when you couldn’t handle it.
Or they could just take your work away from you and hand it to an independent contractor – like they did with Classified Plus. You may recall employees in classified were taken off the phones, the calls went to an independent contractor and the workers were forced to correct the contractor’s mistakes while losing their commissions. (This ended when the Guild intervened, citing that language.)
Oh, and the Company also wants to eliminate seniority protections when it comes to layoffs. Rather than having to let go the least senior people by department, they could pick and choose who they eliminate no matter how long and loyal your service. (This would eliminate the incentive for offering buyouts.)
Sadly, we’re not done. The Company also wants to raise your health insurance premium co-pay from 16 to 25 percent. They want to stop the measly one day’s bonus they give you for never calling in sick. And they want to eliminate the bonus paid to employees who opt out of health insurance coverage if they have other insurance. (That one was just bizarre, because it actually saves the Company money. Go figure.)
The Company also wants to eliminate the bar on reporters working regularly as photographers and photographers working regularly as reporters. (Our photographers are professionals specially trained to do their work.)
The proposal calls for eliminating contract language that has recently helped three different employees. The contract says that the Company cannot change your days off without your consent unless it is necessary for publication. The Company wants to eliminate that protection, but worse: It wants to be able to assign people to work split days off.
It would also remove language, called Section 1(D) that says part-timers and independent contractors cannot be used when they would displace or eliminate a current staff position. That’s important language: It means your work cannot be taken away from you and given to an outside contractor. The Guild spent two years in protracted negotiations over that very issue in the 1990s. Apparently those who forget the past are trying to repeat it.
The Guild’s offer reduces the work week to 35 hours, increases protections from exempt managers doing our work and allows workers to share sick time with a seriously ill colleague.
Workers could also bank up to 25 sick days that could be cashed out at retirement, and we propose adding periodontal and orthodontic coverage. The union also calls for increased vacation time, including an added week at the 15th anniversary.
The union also is proposing increased holidays, including allowing non-Christian employees to get major holidays off without having to take a personal day. It also calls for sufficient staff to maintain the premises and improvements to the condition of the parking lot during rain and ice.
The Guild did not yet propose wage increases, upgrades or commissions. It did propose a longevity bonus of $10 per week for each five years of service.
Employees who use their cell phones for work would be paid $50 a month.
Bargaining continues at 2 p.m. Wednesday and sessions are set for Thursday and Friday. Members can attend on their own time during lunch hours or breaks.