Guild will delay advertiser alerts for now

In light of the reaction among some advertising employees, the Guild’s leadership has decided to delay further distribution of bulletins to advertisers for now. Should the Company go ahead with its threat to cancel the contract on April 9, however, all bets are off.

“We understand that advertising employees have had their commissions deeply cut, and now the Company is demanding they hit every one of their goals to get the same commissions they had earned,” Guild President Tim O’Brien said. “We also know that many are afraid that if they don’t hit their goals, they will have a 90-day performance improvement plan put in their personal files.”

At the same time, however, the Guild cannot be left defenseless should the Company cancel the contract and end employees’ right to take grievances to arbitration. Advertising and circulation boycotts are a last resort, but one that we need to prepare for given the Company’s unprecedented threat.

“If the contract is canceled, we will have no choice but to launch a circulation and, yes, advertising boycott,” O’Brien said. “The same people who expressed  their concerns about this to the Guild should now turn to their bosses and make clear: Whether a boycott occurs is in their hands.”

The Guild also received a call from New York State United Teachers asking if the union should cancel an ad set for Tuesday. NYSUT was told not to do that, but the teachers’ union informed the Times Union there would be no future ads if the contract is canceled. Other labor unions will take the same step.

The decision to delay advertiser alerts came literally minutes before fliers were about to be distributed in front of several Central Avenue businesses in Albany on Tuesday. The Guild will continue to let the public know about the Company’s attack on our union in other ways.

Our members are invited to stop by from 6-7:30 p.m. Friday at Maxie’s to talk to Guild leaders  and find out how you can help convince the Company that there will be dramatic consequences to canceling our contract. Find out what actions are being planned and how you  can participate.

The Guild has proudly represented advertising employees for decades: Fighting off efforts to create commission-only sales positions, negotiating base pay and representing employees who were subjected to discipline.

“We cannot stress clearly enough that this is everyone’s fight. No one should think they can sit on the sidelines and get the Company to compromise,” O’Brien said. “Boycotts could and will begin within weeks unless the Company is convinced in advance what a terrible mistake that would be.”


  • Newsroom staffer

    I don’t work in advertising, but I can understand why people are concerned. I felt the same way when I found out the Guild offered to give up my seniority by letting the company ax people by job title instead of department.

    That said, I support the Guild’s tactics. Hearst plans to crush the Guild here the way it did the San Francisco Chronicle’s, and it will if people are too afraid to fight back. It launched an all-out assault by threatening to cancel our contract. No one is safe.

    No one wants fewer subscriptions or less ad revenue, but we have to fight and protect ourselves and our colleagues. The only thing that matters to this company is the bottom line. What other choice do we have?

  • Fed Up

    I agree with the above statement. Are such tactics biting the hand that feeds you? Well, yes. But when the hand that feeds you starts beating you and threatening your life, youl rear back and sink your teeth into it, hard.

    As far as the possibility of ad and circulation boycotts – which no one wants to go through with – I understand that they might be unattractive to some of our members. But I need to repeat that ALL of our livelihoods are at stake. And I repeat that NO ONE sees the possibility of this as a good thing.

    The prospect of a few missed commissions on ads is far less grim than the prospect of working for commission-only. I have no doubt that’s the eventual company goal for the sales force if there is no union fighting for us. The company has proposed commission-only sales during contract talks, and it is the bargaining power of your union that has made it not happen.

    Just think about it for a moment. People who fear missing a commission or two during this fight, if it comes to that, had better consider the possible option of a future with no guaranteed salary.

    Think that’s not possible? Think this benificent company would never, ever do such a thing to longtime loyal workers and top producers? You had better think again. And if the hand that feeds you starts coming toward you, you’d better be ready to bare your teeth. And this union is more than ready to do that.

  • Advertising

    I think that the bigger issue with us in advertising is that we do not want to hurt our advertisers who are also struggling to keep their businesses open right now. If we ask people to boycott them, that is hurting them. I would gladly give up my commission check for a few months if that meant that we could get our contract signed with everything intact! We are not as naive as you think! We know that the company would much rather have us commission only – those of us that survive the layoffs anyway.

  • Playing with Pain

    The company is so naive to think that corporate news will sell in this region, in this economy. People are looking for more than what was from their media. The top of my front page today showed how much it snowed this winter. Yipee. And they wonder why circ and adv are down. Meanwhile, they insist on attacking workers during a depression. Sick priorities.

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