Guild members take to the street V
Guild members took to Wolf Road Saturday to distribute fliers outside Lazare Kia and Lincoln Mercury.
The union did not call on customers to boycott the business, but did ask that they advise the advertiser of what was happening at the Times Union.
One Lazare customer turned out to be R. Victor Stewart, a past president of our local. He drove into the lot and told the sales people why there were people in bright red shirts outside on the sidewalk. (He had not known in advance of the mobilizing event, but proudly pointed out to the dealership he had purchased his car there.)
The Guild is ramping up its public campaign. An advertisement ran in Metroland Saturday, and a Guild supporter spoke to an Albany neighborhood group and a gathering of union leaders this week.
It is unfortunate these steps need to be taken, but the Company was well aware what it risked by canceling the contract.
I read Friday’s 5 p.m. memo from Mr. Hearst about the company’s proposals with interest and have a couple of questions and concerns.
Mainly, I am puzzled about the point of negotiating if the company says the details of its two major proposals, outsourcing and gutting the seniority system, are “core positions” that “will not change.”
I also appreciate the explanation that the 5 percent pay cut offer from the Guild was rejected because the company doesn’t want to reduce the compensation for people who will remain and be required to do more.
That seems at odds, however, with the outsourcing plan — which seems based on the idea of saving money by paying workers less and providing fewer benefits. While they may not be on the Times Union payroll, technically speaking, they will be doing work for the Times Union and will be associated with our newspaper.
Perhaps this example will help explain: I met a woman several months ago who told me her husband worked for the Times Union. She told me he worked far more than 8 hours each day and had not had a day off in months — not even weekends. I asked what department he worked in. It turned out he was a contractor.
Finally, please let me say that increased pension contribution has become a critical concern for me — and I’m sure to many others. The Times Union could set a good standard for company responsibility by ensuring that the pensions of its workers are sufficiently funded.
I would pleased to see our negotiators back at the bargaining table as soon as possible if the company were to indicate willingness to negotiate. If major proposals are “core positions that will not change,” I’m not sure I see the point.
It’s kind of hard to feel the momentum of what both sides are saying is such a dire and urgent situation. It’s now the end of business on Monday, three days after George’s latest work of creative fiction, and no response from the Guild except a report of passing out fliers at a car dealership. Where is the follow-up from Thursday’s meeting? Where is the counter-attack to our publisher’s condescending-as-usual e-mail? And to echo Kathy, where is the answer to the question: What is the point of fighting things the company is never going to back down on?
Tim O’Brien here. George sent out his latest “creative fiction,” as you called it, on a Friday when he knew I was on vacation. I was back in town but I did not see it until I returned to work today so I’ve had no time to respond. And as to your question: what’s the point of fighting things the Company is never going to back down on? That’s not really what Cathy said, but we fight for what’s right. And the public supports us and will continue to support us. If we don’t fight for our rights as workers today, what lesson will the Company take from that? To come after even more tomorrow. No one ever claimed this would be easy. But we in the newspaper industry are all about speaking truth to power. And, much as the powers at the TU don’t like it, that doesn’t stop at the door.
I wish Guild members good luck. I think that outsourcing is a major evil for many American workers today. Any chance to curtail it must be utilized.
Those I have spoken to about this change in the TU policy are afraid that our local news will be replaced by AP and Syndicated releases. Hope that the newspaper can continue to provide local items. Schenectady Gazette, and the smaller weeklies such as Saratoga Today in our surrounding communities are doing a fine job in this regard. Without local news, many will turn away from the TU in large numbers. Most with opinions on this subject support the union.