Contract negotiations ended abruptly Monday when Company negotiator George Hearst showed up two hours after talks were originally scheduled to begin. Guild negotiators told Hearst his perpetual lateness is disrespectful and needs to stop, then they left.
It is not the first, or second, or third time that Hearst has been an hour or more late for a bargaining session. Usually, he just shows up late. This time, he had his administrative assistant call to say the session would start at 11 a.m. instead of 10 as the parties had agreed. Monday morning, she called shortly before 10 a.m. to say talks would begin at 11:30 a.m.
A couple of minutes after noon, Hearst and Company attorney Peter Rahbar finally walked in the door.
Guild President Tim O’Brien pointed out that under the Company’s proposal, an employee could be fired for “just cause” without getting dismissal pay. O’Brien asked if an employee who consistently made appointments and then showed up more than an hour late for them would be given dismissal pay under the Company’s proposal.
Hearst tried to treat the matter as a joke, but Guild bargainers weren’t laughing. They are tired of the Company wasting the team’s time and the money members pay bargainers when they are negotiating,
“It’s disrespectful, and it has to stop,” O’Brien said. Afterwards, bargaining committee members — who had come prepared with a comprehensive off-the-record proposal to make — discussed among themselves that it might be time to bring in federal mediators.
The parties are scheduled to resume negotiations at 10 a.m. next Monday, Nov. 24. This time, if Hearst does not keep to the schedule, the bargainers won’t wait long.