Guild President Tim O’Brien spoke this morning at a monthly meeting of Capital Region labor leaders to explain how the Company is threatening to outsource jobs and eliminate seniority protections if layoffs were to occur, among other givebacks.
Labor leaders expressed shock that a newspaper based in the labor friendly Capital Region, where 30 percent of workers are organized, would propose such an assault on its workers. O’Brien explained that the parties are in off-the-record negotiations, trying to resolve the contract and get the most divisive issues off the table.
“When do you want us to cancel our subscriptions?” asked Doug “Bullhorn” Bullock, a longtime labor activist and county legislator known for coming to labor pickets with his bullhorn at the ready.
“Not yet,” O’Brien replied.
Another labor leader, Hank Landow, said the unions should plan to circle the Times Union building with a picket line.
Labor leaders were highly active in Channel 13’s negotiations last year, picketing the building and placing lawn signs around the Capital Region urging viewers to turn off the station before that contract was settled. Bill Lambdin, president of NABET/CWA, told the audience that he is in negotiations at Channel 6 and recently reached a contractual agreement at WMHT.
O’Brien explained that the Guild and the Times Union are still working under the current contract, which bars picketing and boycotts. If the Company made the serious mistake of canceling the contract, he said, such actions would then be appropriate and immediate.
“At a time when every subscription and every ad sale is precious, the Times Union should not want to go down that road,” the union president said. “It’s not in anyone’s interest.”