Parties reach agreement on buyout offer

The Guild and the Times Union reached agreement Tuesday on a buyout offer.

While all employees can apply, it is specifically target to reduce jobs in advertising art/marketing, online editorial and among district managers.

The company also said it would accept buyouts if a person in one of the targeted positions could move into the vacancy. For example, if a page designer took the buyout, a member of the Web team might be able to move into that job.

All employees can apply, but people should be aware the intent this time is different than an across-the-board buyout offer.

The agreement reached would provide three weeks’ pay for every year of service and health care for the same time period. The company would not challenge unemployment claims, workers would receive all accrued benefits and pension credit, and they would be given access to clips or outplacement assistance if requested.

You can see the buyout agreement for yourself here.

The Guild was represented by President Tim O’Brien, Marianne Mahr of advertising art/marketing and Tim Neff of online editorial. John Michaels had participated but was unable to attend Tuesday due to the birth of his first child. (Congrats, John.)

The committee negotiated several improvements over the company’s original offer: The TU had first proposed two weeks per year of service. The newspaper also had proposed a 12-week minimum, and the union committee was able to raise that to 15. The buyout will be capped at 52 weeks.

The union also got the company to agree to pay severance for fractions of a year. In other words, an employee who worked 12.2 years would get 36.6 weeks of pay.

Buyout offers must be approved by the membership.

The Executive Board will vote to send the proposal to the membership at its meeting at 5:30 p.m. this Thursday at the Albany Labor Temple, 890 Third St., Albany. Those meetings are open, as always, to the membership.

Members must be given 15 days’ notice of any vote, so the board expects to set the meeting for 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, November 2, at the Colonie Public Library. There is already a membership meeting that day on extending the deadline for dues payment until October 30 for employees to vote in the union election.

Employees would have a week to apply for the buyout offer once it is approved.

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