The Guild’s Executive Board voted Thursday to schedule a vote on the Company’s “last and best offer” for 1 p.m. Sunday, June 14, at the Albany Labor Temple. And the board recommended the membership vote a resounding NO!
“There is nothing in this proposal to recommend it and a great deal in it that would harm workers, advertisers and readers,” Guild President Tim O’Brien said. “We recommend the membership send a strong message to the Company that they need to respect their employees and their community by coming back to the table with a more reasonable offer.”
The vote was set for Sunday, June 14, for several reasons. Contract votes are always set for Sunday afternoons because it is when the least number of Guild members are working. Our members work at almost every hour of the day, and we need to make it convenient for everyone to be there.
Our union’s bylaws require members get at least 15 days’ advance notice in writing that a membership meeting is being held. We cannot send out that formal notice until one step is completed: The proposal the Company sent out as its “last and best offer” did not include all of the tentative agreements reached since negotiations began last summer. In our discussions Wednesday, the TU said its offer did include those items.
Both the Guild and the Company reviewed a list Wednesday night of the various tentative agreements, and both sides agreed to check their files to see if we’d missed anything. (We found one thing on our end Thursday).
There are about 25 tentative agreements involved. At the session’s end, both parties agreed to review our files and share what we believe to be the final versions of the language of all those agreements. Once the two sides agree everything matches, we can print that up and share it with you so you’ll see everything before you vote. We have not yet completed that work ourselves, and we had not received the company’s version as of Thursday night.
The earliest we could send a notice out is next week, which means the earliest we could schedule a membership meeting is Sunday, June 7. That, alas, is the date of our annual picnic. The board wisely decided that the picnic — the date of which has been set since January — is no place for a vote. So we scheduled the vote for Sunday, June 14. That will give us plenty of time to get the complete proposal together, share it with you, and enable you to ask questions about it. We also plan to have small group meetings to share information in the days ahead.
The Guild’s Executive Board appreciates your patience as we get all of this together for your consideration. We think you will agree when you see it all that the proposal the Company is forcing you to vote on is unworthy of your support.