For the second time, the Company violated the law in announcing its proposed newsroom changes Tuesday.
Guild bargainers were shocked to get the memo sent to the staff, announcing promotions to titles that don’t exist and that long-standing Guild positions were suddenly exempt. The upshot of the Company’s proposal to “streamline” the newsroom was to add 4 more managers to supervise 9 fewer Guild people.
The Guild immediately informed the Company that the union had no choice but to file an unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board. “These matters are a topic of ongoing negotiations that have not led to an agreement,” Guild bargainers Tim O’Brien and Mary Fultz wrote.
In fact, the parties had met on Thursday. At the time, O’Brien informed Company negotiators that the Guild was almost done preparing its proposal. Questions were asked specifically about the proposed Team Leader position, and the company leaders said they could not say how many of those exempt titles they were proposing until the results of the buyout were known. Three business days later, the memo was sent to staff with no further discussion.
The Company proposal would eliminate every single occupied Class A position except the editorial cartoonist. It then attempts to convert some of those positions (the so-called “deputy directors” and the assistant city editors) into management jobs. It seeks to downgrade other Guild jobs from Class A to Class B.
After the Guild sent its e-mail, Editor Rex Smith called O’Brien to say he had been misled to believe an agreement had been reached, and he said the Company might have to rescind part of its announcement. The parties are to meet later today.