Gutting 1(D): It’s your job at stake
Melissa Nelson said she felt like she was in a Bill Murray movie.
Nine years after she left the Times Union, the former Guild local president was once again in a conference room, hearing George Hearst proclaim the Company’s need for “flexibility” as an explanation for why it needed to gut section 1(D) of the contract.
Melissa, now the Guild International’s director of contract bargaining, led our local in 1995 when the company tried to remove the same protections that keep your work from being outsourced to independent contractors and nonunion part-timers.
“We talked about this for two years,” Nelson reminded Hearst as she showed the contract from back then that she still had, with its “I Love 1(D) sticker” still firmly attached. In honor of Melissa’s return this week, the bargaining committee wore duplicates of the “I Love 1(D) stickers.”
What could eliminating Section 1(D) mean to you? Well, as part of that contract settlement, an exception was made to the language affecting drivers. At the time, the Times Union employed 49 drivers. Today, there are five.
So imagine what could happen: Classified ad calls, taken by an independent contractor. Circulation calls, ditto. Billing and other business office functions? Outsourced. Features writers? Sorry, we only use freelancers. Covering local towns? You reporters are being fired and we’ll use Empire News Service for that.
Don’t think it could happen to your job? Talk to a driver — if you can find one.
Thanks to Melissa for returning to advocate for this very important aspect of our contract.
I also would argue that this restriction ultimately benefits the Times Union with a more loyal, invested, engaged and focused Guiild-represented workforce . When work is farmed out to freelancers — even very good ones — and other contract workers, there’s got to be greater distance between the newspaper and its readers and customers. I also think it would likely undermine the team work that is so valuable to the newspaper.