Less than five months after we reached an agreement on a newsroom reorganization, the Company violated it.
The Guild agreed, at the Company’s insistence, to separate out the changing of titles and duties from the rest of contract negotiations, which the union did not have to do. However, we were willing to be flexible.
You’ll recall that the Company’s original proposal was to remove almost every Guild title from the top pay class and make the occupants either exempt or place them in Classification B. On July 31, we reached an agreement that moved many copy editors into new Class A positions of content editor or page designer.
Part of the agreement allowed the Company to move some Guild-covered positions into new exempt titles of Team Leader. But both parties agreed that two Class A positions would remain in the Guild: the assistant photo editor and design editor.
Now, with no discussion, the Company has violated that agreement and claimed it has created a new exempt position of executive news editor that will be the number two position in the editorial art department. This is called an unachieved demand: The Company is trying to impose what it failed to gain in bargaining.
Now, you’ll note we have not mentioned the employee by name, though her newsroom colleagues know who it is. There’s a reason. She’s a very nice person, we like her very much and we think she’d be more than deserving of a real promotion. She’s also not responsible for the Company’s decision to engage in the most blatant violation of an agreement we’ve ever seen.
It’s very sad that the Company cannot keep its word. It’s also illegal. A grievance has been filed, and we’ve sought a hearing. We expect to move swiftly to arbitration if the Company does not live up to an agreement it made July 31 and broke before the year was out.