At Sunday’s Auto Show, Guild members once again took to the streets to let people know how the Times Union wants to be able to “drive jobs out of the Capital Region.”
Members stood outside the Times Union Center distributing bright orange fliers that explained how the newspaper wants to be able to outsource any and all of our jobs. We detailed how the computer system would allow pages in Albany to be laid out in Houston. And we let showgoers know about the Times Union’s desire to be able to lay people off regardless of how long and loyally they have served the newspaper.
“When did worker become a bad word?” one disgusted attendee asked.
In this upcoming week, the parties will meet for four straight days, Tuesday through Friday, in an attempt to negotiate an agreement. But if the Company cancels the contract on Thursday as threatened, Guild members are prepared to do a lot more than leafleting.
As President Tim O’Brien told a breakfast of labor leaders Friday, this negotiation isn’t about wages or benefits. It is about the fundamental reasons workers have a union: to protect them from being laid off when they are experienced but older, when new jobs are hard to come by, and to keep their jobs from being handed off to freelancers, independent contractors and cheap call centers where quality customer service is not provided.
“We will work to negotiate a fair agreement this week, and we hope the Company will realize that it too needs to make substantial movement,” O’Brien said. “But we will not bargain out of fear. If the Company chooses to cancel the contract, it has been amply forewarned of the consequences.”