Guild members take to the streets

Guild members took to the streets in two cities Saturday to let the public know about the Times Union’s unprecedented assault on its workers’ contract.

At the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Albany, Guild members fanned out to distribute fliers on green paper that informed people “It’s not a great day for Times Union employees, readers and advertisers.”

We discussed the Company’s first-ever decision to cancel our contract and force a series of givebacks on us. Readers told us that they found the newspaper to be thin, with little content, and they were deeply offended by the Company’s treatment of employees. Many promised to back our efforts, and some said they would cancel their newspaper on April 9 if the Company followed through on its threat.

Meanwhile, in Schenectady, another group of members went to  the Fuccillo car dealership, one of our top advertisers. There, they explained to managers of the dealership and to passersby that we appreciate their advertising support and encourage people to shop there. We also warned, however, that we could be forced into an advertising boycott if the Company follows through on its threat to cancel our contract.

We’ve never done this before, but we never have faced a battle like this before. One manager in editorial loudly told a reporter, in front of witnesses, “the Guild must die.”

Faced with people who want to kill our union, we will have to take dramatic action. To our colleagues in advertising, we know this may be a shock but we will be approaching many other advertisers with the same message: We appreciate your support, we shop here and encourage others to do so because you advertise with the TU, and we hope not to have to launch an advertising boycott April 9.

Thanks to all who turned out today in two cities. The effort to convince the Company to retreat from the horrendous path it has chosen is really gaining steam. You will learn more about the efforts we, the labor community and others will make on our behalf in the days ahead.

7 thoughts on “Guild members take to the streets

  1. I’m a dues paying union member. I work in advertising. I’m sure you will find a way to reimburse me for the money I lose if advertisers boycott us.

    It’s suppose to be unite and conquer. However, you chose division. If you were worried about the company breaking the union don’t bother, you just did!!!!!

  2. Boycott our advertisers? With all due respect, that is like biting the hand that feeds us. The very problem we have at the Times Union today is largely due to a decline in advertising revenue. A boycott of our faithful advertisers will do nothing but force that revenue down even lower. Many of our sales representatives earn a large portion of our wages from those very advertisers that you wish to boycott. It is a very difficult job to produce sales revenue equal or greater than our sales goal and with a boycott of these advertisers our monthly income will be substantially reduced. The entire advertising department has already recieved a reduction in commission payouts along with an increase in our sales goals. This is not a complaint and is common in sales compensation plans. We all knew this when we siged on as a salesperson. What we didn’t sign on for, was a boycott of our advertisers. What did they do wrong to deserve this? What did the advertising department do wrong to deserve this? A boycott does nothing but tear down the relationships with the very people that helped us become the #1 media sorce in the entire area.

  3. As an advertising representative this concerns me. How is putting our advertisers in the middle of this going to help? The same advertisers whose support has halped pay our salaries all this time. By boycotting our advertisers we will cause an even further loss of revenues, and possibly following in the steps of the Seattle PI. These relationships with our advertisers have taken us years to grow and maintain and I feel this will be devastating to all of us. And while we’re at it, when the dust settles and we are done with all of this, who will have to rebuild the Times Union’s reputation and restore our advertiser’s faith in us…..your “colleagues in advertising”, for it wil be crucial in order for us to maintain our revenue, thus helping to secure all of our jobs and the vitality of the newspaper.
    In the “outrageous” blog your response was “having a party a week before canceling the contract and in the middle of layoffs seems tone deaf to the pain being inflicted on so many”. Well my question to you would be isn’t this the same thing being done to your colleagues in advertising? I feel we are the ones being left out to dry on this one.

  4. Can someone please explain how boycotting our advertisers will help this situation or cause? I’m confused why trying to reduce revenue from an already reduced revenue stream in a horrible economy makes sense. Different situations take different strategies and different measures; this is a revenue issue that could blow up in everyone’s face with the loss of more revenue. The Rocky Mountain News, the Seattle PI and who’s next. I’m surprised that my Union, that is supposed to support me and my colleagues in advertising would take such an approach. Why would anyone want to add fuel to the fire? Please, I urge you to think this out intelligently and don’t make a mistake that would cost us all our jobs. I hope this isn’t falling on deaf ears, since the other responses have not been posted.

  5. The Guild does not want to boycott a single advertiser. Nor do we want to see a single subscription be canceled. But we also cannot be defenseless in light of the company’s decision to cancel the contract on April 9.

    Anyone who wishes to talk more about this can come to an informal discussion at 6 p.m. Friday at Maxie’s, right across from the paper on Wolf Road.

  6. *sigh.*

    The company has declared war on us. You think that your working conditions are difficult now? What do you think is going to happen on April 9 when our ability to enforce the contract through binding arbitration disappears?

    The company has put us in this untenable position for no reason other than their own impatience. Yes, these are difficult times, but the bargaining committee has tried … and tried … and TRIED to reach compromise with the company. You’ve only heard about the stuff we pitched on the record, but there were plenty of off-the-record proposals that I frankly never imagined we would hand across the table.

    We moved light-years while the company moved millimeters… and still they pulled a stunt like this.

    Nobody WANTS to go to war. We just want the company to negotiate in good faith!!!

  7. The union is far from broken!!!!!!!!!!!! You have not been at ANY union meeting to see that, or took part in any of our actions to help us! Just because you think it’s broken it’s not! WE had many people handing out fliers this past weekend and reached many people to let them know what’s going on at their local newspaper, and the people in the community supported us & contacted George to let him know! THAT ALONE SAYS WERE NOT BROKEN!!!

    Let’s say we don’t do anything and YOUR job gets outsourced by someone who they can pay for less??? You will be singing your sad story to unemployment of Should have, Could have, Would have?????

Leave a Reply