Guild offers concessions in contract talks

In bargaining Thursday, the Guild sharply reduced its list of proposals and offered concessions including a voluntary furlough program and a way for the Company to outsource work in areas of sharp decline.

The Guild said it would encourage its members to take at least a week of unpaid time off as a cost-saving measure. The Guild also offered a detailed proposal on outsourcing that would give the union a chance to match a contractor’s offer.

The union also removed a host of proposals its members considered important. They included raising differentials for the first time in more than 20 years, getting the Company to pay toward the personal cell phones many use for their jobs, and enabling workers to get five weeks’ vacation sooner than 25 years.

“In light of the current economy, we sharply reduced our list to those issues that are vitally important,” Guild President Tim O’Brien said. “We also offered unprecedented concessions.”

You can read details of the Guild’s proposal here.

The two parties did reach four tentative agreements on minor issues: 1) Employees will be able to contribute the maximum allowed to their 401(k) plans; 2) allowing non-Christian employees to swap Christmas for another religious holiday; 3) a notation that unused makeup and personal days are paid when an employee is terminated; and 4) the creation of a new title of “rack technician” for the employee who collects money from and repairs the newspaper’s rack boxes. The employee is now classified as a driver, but that does not accurately reflect his work.

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