Interns, unused vacation topics of the day

At an afternoon session Thursday, the talk focused on the union’s proposal setting guidelines for interns and on how many people forfeited vacation time under the “use it or lose it” clause.

Both parties agreed on the importance of giving young people a chance to experience what it’s like to work at a newspaper in the hopes they’d like to make a career here. (Hopefully, the interns didn’t read the bargaining bulletin on the Company initial’s proposal.) Guild bargainers said that interns should be paid and, given the reduction in staffing, the numbers should be limited.

Company officials said they get more requests for internships than they can fill because they require so much time to manage. So far this summer, there does not seem to be the large number of interns, especially in editorial, we have seen in past years.

The two sides also discussed the Guild’s proposal to eliminate the “use it or lose it” clause that requires people to take vacations within a year or lose the time. In 2007, 49 people  lost a total of 1,286.75 hours. One employee lost 142.5 hours — a day shy of four weeks — while another lost 112.5. One photographer lost 97.5 hours and another forfeited  90 hours.

The Guild will talk to some of the individuals who have lost a considerable amount of time to see if they had trouble getting time off from their managers. The contract says if an employee cannot schedule any or all of his or her vacation time due to work schedule conflicts, that time can be carried over. It also says that if the Company decides not to grant an employee’s third, fourth or fifth week of vacation, the employee shall receive up to three weeks of additional pay.

Employees are entitled to at least two consecutive weeks of vacation between May 15 and September 30.

If you are denied vacation time, let the Guild know especially if the year is near its end and you fear you may “lose it.” If your boss refuses to give you time off, you’re entitled to carry it over or cash it out.


  • Dan Roesser

    Most unpaid interenships in this country are illegal, plain and simple. We’re not a non-profit and we do have minimum wage laws in this country.

    One of the requirements from the US Dept of Labor for the unpaid internship to be legal:

    The employer that provides the training derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the trainees and on occasion the employer’s operations may actually be impeded.

    Most internships don’t pass that test.

  • Mark

    This isn’t quite the same problem, but with only one person allowed to be away at any one time, vacations are hard to come by on the night copy desk.

    Sure, there’s two consecutive weeks available for you somewhere, but if they’re dates that you don’t want or can’t really use, it’s pretty much like not having vacation time. And if that’s the case, the company should compensate employees for unused time or let them accrue it.

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