Negotiations resumed Monday with a contentious discussion: Guild bargainers strongly objected to the Company’s decision to discipline bargainer Stacy Wood for not meeting some ad sales goals while bargaining.
Even though Stacy hit more than 100 percent of her total goal last month, the Company cited her for not selling what they viewed as enough online ads and new business. Stacy noted to the Company that she had been in bargaining many days during the period, and she was told, in essence, too bad. Despite the fact that she was on leave from work, Stacy was told, she’d still be disciplined.
Guild President Tim O’Brien said no other bargaining committee member is expected to do their jobs and bargain at the same time. “When I am bargaining, I am not expected to write stories and Mary Fultz is not expected to edit them,” O’Brien said. “John DeMania, a district manager, is not expected to oversee delivery of newspapers at the same time he is negotiating the contract. Stacy should not be held to a different standard.”
O’Brien warned the Company that its stance could have a chilling effect on negotiations. In order to protect its member, he said, the union might be forced to limit the number of sessions it could hold in any one week or could insist on bargaining on nights and weekends.
“We’ve always had a member or two from advertising on the bargaining team,” O’Brien said. “They work hard to continue to sell ads and bring in revenue, and Stacy is not an exception in that regard. But we’ve never had a bargaining committee member disciplined while we negotiate because they didn’t sell ads while they bargained. It is completely unreasonable. The Company’s recent treatment of advertising employees has been awful, and it has driven many good sales people to leave.”
The Company tried to get O’Brien to back off on his assertion that the discipline was inappropriate and potentially illegal, but he refused. The union will explore all of its legal options on how to respond.