Company claims its last offer is on table

In its ongoing effort to push for an impasse, the Times Union sent a letter Wednesday saying it is presenting its “last, best offer” and wants the matter taken to a vote of the membership. Here’s the Guild’sresponse sent today.

The offer, however, is largely unchanged. It still calls for an unfettered right to outsource any and all of our work; to lay off people outside seniority with no guidelines; it would force members to see a 5 percent increase in their share of health insurance come January 1. (That would be in addition to any increase in the dollar amount from one year to the next.)

The Company also altered its proposal to say that if the Times Union declares an impasse, it would continue to bargain with the Guild over implementation of layoffs outside seniority and outsourcing. Ironically, that would give the Guild greater say if the Company declared impasse than if its proposal was approved by the membership.

“The Newspaper Guild is consulting with our legal counsel, Barbara Camens, and reviewing the Company’s letter and the Times Union’s contract proposals,” Guild President Tim O’Brien said. “We still have outstanding information requests the Company has not answered. The Company’s statement that we are at or near impasse is inaccurate.”

The parties have a negotiation session scheduled from 5:30-8:30 p.m. Wednesday in the Executive Conference Room upstairs. The Company’s decision to cancel the contract has forced  the Guild to bargain less often and in the evenings in order to keep costs down.

“We continue to look at our own proposals as well as the Company’s, and it is possible either or both sides will have modifications to their proposals to present Wednesday,” O’Brien said. “Should we decide that we’ve reached a point to send a proposal to the membership for a vote, we will alert you swiftly.”

Members are welcome to attend bargaining on their own time.

5 thoughts on “Company claims its last offer is on table

  1. I’m embarrassed, ashamed and disappointed to see Union dues paying for that I-90 billboard slamming the company.

  2. Let me address the points you made re: the company’s “final offer.”

    Rehiring list: The company’s proposal on rehiring grants management the option of ignoring the list.

    Outsourcing: Yeah, the Guild will be kept in the loop, but the company wouldn’t be obliged to pay any mind to any issues the Guild would raise. And that includes the option of making a “counteroffer” to keep the work in Guild hands.

    Elimination of the Guild?: Well, let’s see, the company is demanding the unfettered right to lay off Guild members and give our work to contractors; reporters replaced by freelancers; advertising sales reps replaced by independent contractors; and this is a fact — pretty soon there won’t be a single driver in the union. The company is demanding these changes because they have a very serious intent to use them.

    See where this is going?

  3. I submitted this comment already, but it did not appear.

    I’m embarrassed, ashamed and disappointed to see Union dues paying for that I-90 billboard slamming the company.

    Is that the best way to come to an agreement on the contract?

  4. The Hearst “contract” is a bad deal and should be rejected by our negotiators. Keep talking. Treat us fairly so we can continue to serve our advertisers and customers. No one is expecting a great deal, but outsourcing and no seniority as presented are not acceptable. Compromise, Mr. Publisher.
    Guild members, the Times Union was a corporate cashbox for many decades. But with the national crisis, it is our turn to pay.
    Look at the San Francisco Chronicle for a preview of what Hearst has in store for Albany if we accept the Hearst deal as presented. The layoffs have started at the Chronicle and it isn’t pretty.
    Outsourcing? TU Guild reporters and editors get ready to lose your jobs. Who will fill them? Exempts “managing” a herd of stringers. Look to the TU Home and other “magazines” as models for what is to come for TU print and online.
    Outsourcing? Guild advertising employees, get ready to lose your jobs. The order has a place only for commission sales, with no benefits and no job security.
    Outsourcing? Guild drivers? None. That is what is happening as the company acts to cut the last positions.
    Outsourcing? Editorial and advertising artists, page designers… Hearst can get it cheaper in Texas … or India.
    Isn’t this fun? Just put your own Guild job on the line and think about how it can be outsourced. If you can think of a way someone can replace you, it will be done.
    The contract offer is no deal for Guild members. It is a Wal-Mart special designed so the company can fire anyone at any time under any conditions.
    Please pay your dues and support this Guild. The job you save may be your own.

  5. Worried:

    What you should be embarrassed, ashamed and disappointed about is the way this company is treating its employees.

    Of course, if you did not have a union taking action, I can guarantee that right now you would be embarrassed, ashamed, disappointed and jobless. The company wants someone in India or Texas to have your job. Do you expect to discourage them from sending it there by saying “Pretty please, with sugar on top?”

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