The Company’s communications and some recent discussions in the building might lead you to believe that seniority is the only outstanding issue in these contract negotiations.
That’s not nearly the case. Here’s a look at some of the other awful things the Company wants to do:
- Be able to lay employees off and outsource their jobs.
In editorial, an editor recently traveled to Houston and was laying out pages from there, testing the system. The Company wants to eliminate the jobs of page designers and have that work done in Texas. Editorial and advertising artists, people who take calls in Circulation and Advertising, features reporters, people in our business office, all these jobs will be at risk and likely gone in no time if they are given that language.
- No raises for three years but an increase of $648 a year in health-care costs come January. And that’s if they don’t raise the deductible too.
The Company proposes to hike your share of health care from 16 percent to 25 percent on January 1. It also wants to wipe out the language requiring any new health insurance plan to be “comparable” and be able to change your share, both percentage of the cost and the deductible, with no say from you or your union.
- Eliminate the no-pay-cuts clause.
Ever get a merit raise? It could be taken away. Or you could be transferred against your will to a lower pay classification and your pay could then be cut.
The Company wants to focus solely on the seniority issue because they know it’s a sensitive one for those at the bottom of the list. The Company insists it wants to make these decisions solely on quality. We told the Company frankly “You’re ignoring the elephant in the room: Favoritism.” We recited specific cases of people — including some of our best known names — who spent some time in the doghouse at the whim of a boss.
Are there great people at the bottom of the seniority list? Absolutely. We have been fighting to keep as many jobs as possible, offering cost-saving measures and pushing hard to get a buyout offer.
We are not shutting the door on compromises on any of these issues, but don’t let the Company fool you. Seniority is not the only issue.