Bargainers left the confines of the conference room and walked around the building to discuss health and safety issues today.
Beforehand, the union and company negotiators discussed concerns about air quality and the dangers of simply walking across the parking lot in rainy or icy weather.
Terry Brown of Editorial discussed how the air in the building aggravated his system, already sensitive from his service in the first Gulf War. “I can tell when there is mold in the room,” he said. “In the course of a year, there are some days when the system takes in pollutants you can see, feel and even taste.”
The tour stopped at Terry’s desk, where the vent over his desk was thick with dirt and dust.
Guild bargainers also talked about the hazards of the parking lot. Stacy Wood noted several pregnant women have fallen in icy weather. “I kind of had a hard time finding people who hadn’t taken a spill in the parking lot,” she said, noting it’s a real potential liability for the Company if someone is injured.
Associate Publisher George Hearst said the Company has to install a storm drainage system to handle runoff as part of building a new press.
The walking tour started with a view of the carpeting in advertising. After looking at a spot a former employee just left, you could see the clear difference between the space where a former plastic mat had been and the filthy carpet next to it.
Next stop was advertising art, where employees talked about the often frigid temperatures in the former computer room and the fact there is only one exit from the room during an emergency.
After making sure the room was clear, the parties then stepped into the area in the downstairs women’s rest room that is supposed to be available for nursing mothers. In our last contract, the Company agreed to provide a room for nursing mothers. A sink was installed that was meant to be used only by mothers, but no sign was ever installed instructing employees not to use that sink for other purposes. A chair for the mothers was not bought, either.
To his credit, George Hearst has asked for signs to be placed in the room and he has arranged to get a refrigerator in the room for the sole use of mothers. Anyone who places food in there will find it immediately discarded. A sign will make that clear.
The area for mothers is only sectioned off by a curtain, while ideally it would be best to have a separate room. The completion of the nursing mothers’ area took on new life after four women in editorial became pregnant. (Congratulations, Jennifer Gish, on your newborn twins!)
The Company said it would look at all the issues raised and respond to the Guild. If there are any health and safety concerns you would like addressed, please contact a bargaining committee member or contact the union by phone at 482-9218 or by e-mail at email@example.com.