Company to bargainer: Sell ads while you negotiate

Negotiations resumed Monday with a contentious discussion: Guild bargainers strongly objected to the Company’s decision to discipline bargainer Stacy Wood for not meeting some ad sales goals while bargaining.

Even though Stacy hit more than 100 percent of her total goal last month, the Company cited her for not selling what they viewed as enough online ads and new business. Stacy noted to the Company that she had been in bargaining many days during the period, and she was told, in essence, too bad. Despite the fact that she was on leave from work, Stacy was told, she’d still be disciplined.

Guild President Tim O’Brien said no other bargaining committee member is expected to do their jobs and bargain at the same time. “When I am bargaining, I am not expected to write stories and Mary Fultz is not expected to edit them,” O’Brien said. “John DeMania, a district manager, is not expected to oversee delivery of newspapers at the same time he is negotiating the contract. Stacy should not be held to a different standard.”

O’Brien warned the Company that its stance could have a chilling effect on negotiations. In order to protect its member, he said, the union might be forced to limit the  number of sessions it could hold in any one week or could insist on bargaining on nights and weekends.

“We’ve always had a member or two from advertising on the bargaining team,” O’Brien said. “They work hard to continue to sell ads and bring in revenue, and Stacy is not an exception in that regard. But we’ve never had a bargaining committee member disciplined while we negotiate because they didn’t sell ads while they bargained. It is completely unreasonable. The Company’s recent treatment of advertising employees has been awful, and it has driven many good sales people to leave.”

The Company tried to get O’Brien to back off on his assertion that the discipline was inappropriate and potentially illegal, but he refused. The union will explore all of its legal options on how to respond.


  • Audrey Lahoff

    Management at the Times Union has become absolutely unreasonable if they expect all ad sales goals to be met at all times under regular circumstances. To hold an employee on guild leave to the same expectation is unthinkable. They loose commissions for any sales not made while on leave, isn’t that peanalty enough? To discipline a bargaining committee member for not meeting goals while on guild leave is crazy.

    I applaud Tim for taking a strong stance on this issue. Keep up the good fight!

  • Danielle Furfaro

    It seems as if the company is determined to marginalize the union every chance it gets. Do they not understand how this lowers morale and lowers respect for those we work for? The publisher needs to understand that this is a union shop where we stand up for one another every opportunity we get.

  • Mark

    Unbelievable. Is this really how the company wants to treat an employee who seems to be doing her job exceptionally well? How do they expect people to give their best if the only reward seems to be discipline? Get your act together, TU management.

  • Mike Jarboe

    This is disgusting, and not in keeping with past practice.

    Perhaps the company could use a little spanking from the NLRB.

    I stand behind the committee 1,000 percent.

  • Ken Crowe

    I couldn’t believe this bargaining bulletin when I read the hard copy. Reading it again online I am even more dismayed. Does the company want to see an unfair labor practice charge?

    Having played a role in past rounds of bargaining, I know first hand that the company has not taken action against someone who is member of the bargaining committee. Is the next step to hold employees accountable for sales not made or stories not written on their days off?

    What will the company do if the salespeople attend a session to join discussions regarding their jobs and related issues? Will they all be disciplined?

  • Betsy Feldstein

    That is unbelievable about Stacy. How can she be at two places at once? Go Tim….we support your stance. We have to stand up for what we believe in, the union, and right to free speech. We need to keep strong and remember that without the union, we would be nowhere. Thank you again Tim O’Brien and the bargaining committee for holding strong. We are behind you all the way!

  • Multi-tasker

    A salesperson EXCEEDING her goals is written up? Oh, and she just happens to be on the bargaining committee. Coincidence?
    This is the company’s passive /agressive way of targeting the union. Oh, and it’s also illegal. I fully suppport bringing legal action against the company, and bringing these underhanded tactics to the attention of the community as a whole. And it’s a big union community out there.

  • John Runfola

    I support Tim O’Brien and the bargaining committee. The answer to the company concerns is to hold bargaining sessions on nights and weekends. It is absurd to expect an ad salesperson to meet goals while working as a Guild negotiator. Ad workers deserve representation during negotiations. Hang in there Stacy!

  • Dan Higgins

    George, I’m very disappointed that an obviously valuable member of the sales team is being punished for work related to bargaining with the Guild. Isn’t Stacey a recent “Saleswoman of the Month?” Please explain to us how this is fair.

    Menawhile, I support Tim O’Brien’s inquiry into whether this is legal.

    I can’t understand why the company has decided to inject this distraction into negotiations. Don’t you have a newspaper to run? Don’t we have a newspaper to produce? And don’t we all have a contract to negotiate?

    Please un-punish Stacey, take the letter out of her file. We can move on, and the company can erase the message it surely sent by mistake: That it does not recognize our legal right to bargain. I’m sure you didn’t mean to do that , but that’s what you did. When we feel like we’re being pushed around, we expect Tim and the other Guild leaders to stand up for us. I am pleased that they are.

  • g

    It’s time for the company to shape up – this is a place we work together – and work hard – not a place where we should expect stabs in the back.


    Does anyone else remember the time when you were proud to be a TU employee? Seems to this fte that most of this outrageous behaviour by management started when we were blessed with Aldam.

    Maybe it’s time to program that navigation system in his fancy Audi right back to Hartford!

  • Anonymous

    It is so obvious that Stacy is being targeted for union activity. Because Stacy is smart, knowledgeable and well spoken she has now become an intimidation to some managers! Targeting her for discipline and then naming her salesperson of the month proves it. Go Stacy! Unions need people like you! Good luck.

  • Olive Oil

    How can the Publisher and Stacy Wood’s immediate Advertising Sales Managers impose this stress, humiliation and degredation on Stacy and be “OK” with who they see in the mirror each morning? It is an abomination to treat someone as capable, smart, hard-working and loyal as Stacy with such contempt. Stacy is one of our newest Union representatives. She took on the responsibilities, surely knowlegable enough that it could put a target on her back for management to hunt her down and shoot their arrows. Of course it is easier for management to target one employee (who just happens to be the newest Union Rep) than to sit down like ladies and gentlemen and hammer out an agreement at the round table. Of course it is a cop-out on behalf of our new Publisher and the management under him. Look at all Stacy has accomplished in her sales territory. Look at her amazing numbers. Look at the GREAT revenue she has brought to the Times Union to pay her manager’s salaries! Yup, Stacy is a wonderful woman and a good friend. Yup, Stacy is a Guild/Union Representative. Yup, Stacy is on the Bargaining Committee. Yup, Anonymous hit the nail on the head. Stacy is being targeted for union activity. Let’s all stand up WITH and FOR Stacy. Simple idea: Go to Target. Ask for a free T-shirt with their bright red Target logo on it…or make one yourself. Wear that target on your back – all on the same day…for Stacy…the newest Union Rep who fights for a fair contract for us all.

    PS – Can you guess who I am? Can you guess what happened to me? During the contract negotiations for the 2004-2008 contract, I was written up and put on 5 months probation with the constant threat of reprimand, suspension without pay and/or possible termination because I did not meet my “goal” during the slowest advertising week of the year…Happy 4th of July! I missed it by the lucky number 7 that week. I am an avid Union advocate/supporter. (Of course, management knew this). It did not matter that I exceeded my weekly goal by 10-52% every other week pre and post the onset of the “new goals”. I am not in sales…but Stacy…I share the wearing of your shoes. I made it through (in spades) and so will you!!!

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