In its ongoing effort to push for an impasse, the Times Union sent a letter Wednesday saying it is presenting its “last, best offer” and wants the matter taken to a vote of the membership. Here’s the Guild’sresponse sent today.
The offer, however, is largely unchanged. It still calls for an unfettered right to outsource any and all of our work; to lay off people outside seniority with no guidelines; it would force members to see a 5 percent increase in their share of health insurance come January 1. (That would be in addition to any increase in the dollar amount from one year to the next.)
The Company also altered its proposal to say that if the Times Union declares an impasse, it would continue to bargain with the Guild over implementation of layoffs outside seniority and outsourcing. Ironically, that would give the Guild greater say if the Company declared impasse than if its proposal was approved by the membership.
“The Newspaper Guild is consulting with our legal counsel, Barbara Camens, and reviewing the Company’s letter and the Times Union’s contract proposals,” Guild President Tim O’Brien said. “We still have outstanding information requests the Company has not answered. The Company’s statement that we are at or near impasse is inaccurate.”
The parties have a negotiation session scheduled from 5:30-8:30 p.m. Wednesday in the Executive Conference Room upstairs. The Company’s decision to cancel the contract has forced the Guild to bargain less often and in the evenings in order to keep costs down.
“We continue to look at our own proposals as well as the Company’s, and it is possible either or both sides will have modifications to their proposals to present Wednesday,” O’Brien said. “Should we decide that we’ve reached a point to send a proposal to the membership for a vote, we will alert you swiftly.”
Members are welcome to attend bargaining on their own time.