Members want Company to provide answers

More than 150 Guild members filled a meeting hall at the Albany Labor Temple tonight to discuss the Company’s announced layoffs.

Guild leaders tried their best to answer questions, although the Company has shared no details to date. Publisher George Hearst has said the Company will develop its plan over the next month, and it won’t be until the third quarter of the year that all layoffs are complete.

Members expressed frustration the Company won’t open its books, allowing a Guild International official to review them but keeping the findings confidential. Taking this step — which has happened at other privately held newspapers, including in the Hearst Corp. — would help ensure members that reductions are truly needed.

Employees also said it would be helpful to know how much the Company is seeking to save so the Guild’s bargaining team could be in a better position to offer alternatives. One young staffer pleaded for people to be willing to offer concessions in the hopes of saving jobs like his, and members assured him that they are willing to do so.

The Guild will take in all the input they received to formulate a response, but members agreed the Company could help immensely by removing some of the large number of givebacks they are seeking from the table. Other proposals still left include eliminating the no-pays cuts clause, giving the Company a blank check to outsource work, enabling bosses to change days off without consent, and eliminating the language that protects against an illegal speedup.

To a person, the attendees were supportive of the Guild’s bargaining committee and said the Company should not be under the delusion that the members have a different viewpoint than the bargaining team.

 “They’re not telling us what to think,” one editorial employee said. “We’re telling them what we think.”

5 thoughts on “Members want Company to provide answers

  1. Tonight really showed that we are ALL in this together no matter where you fall in seniority!!! Hopefully the company will see that we want to work with them, and not against them…BUT with following the contract! Why do we have to go to the extreme?? If a Buyout is offered it would help save jobs for people on the lower end. We know times are tough, many sales reps have taken huge cuts in pay because of it! We ask that the company please respect us enough to not drag this out for weeks with no answers! Morale is already at a all time low, and it’s only going to get worse as time goes on. Thank GOD the Union has our backs…because the company doesn’t!!!!!

  2. I am proud of the solidarity shown by Guild members tonight. The company’s applying pressure to eliminate seniority protection so it can lay off whomever it desires, whenever it desires, is an attempt to divide and weaken, if not conquer. After hearing from fellow members, I’m confident that won’t happen.

    If The Company will confidentially open its books and demonstrate the Times Union is in dire straits, then I’m confident Guild members will do everything in their power to compromise, help cut costs and save jobs.

    That is the goal, right Hearst?

    If not, it should be.

  3. Personally, I found the meeting sobering, and deeply disturbing. When Tim echoed the growing suspicion about the company’s long-term goal of moving operations to Houston, I suddenly realized that nothing we could possibly offer would ever restore our lost sense of job security.

    Mark Aldam once told us he had no desire to captain a sinking ship. Indeed, he has already jumped off. And I’ve begun to think my only hope would be to do the same.

  4. The company is shooting itself in the foot with all these moves, I’m afraid. At a time when unity is needed most among managers and staff, they are trying to tear us apart. Do they really think it’s going to result in more readers in a union town? Sure, maybe decreased expenses, but less and less readers.
    The area needs quality local news, a service we now rarely provide. At a time when the company should be working to produce the best product we can to defy the economy, they are concentrated on busting the union. How do we increase readership (and ad revenue) in communities without writing about them?
    Final point: If what they say is true about revenue, the company is as vulnerable as we are right now if we remain unified and willing to fight.

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