We must admit we were mildly amused by the format of Publisher George Hearst’s e-mail this week. In it, Hearst talked to himself, asking questions and then providing his own answers. (Sample exchange: How are you? Excellent. Hey, thanks for asking.)
In the same spirit, we offer a Q&A for the publisher. We hope he answers these questions next week.
- Has any other union in the plant given up all seniority protections or agreed to allow any and all of its jobs to be outsourced? No, none.
- Why hasn’t George Hearst mentioned that in any of his e-mails? Only he can answer that question for you.
- I understand other newspapers where outsourcing language has been approved have included reasonable limits, specified what jobs would not be outsourced or offered enhanced severance for anyone laid off as a result. Is that true? Why, yes it is. But the Company has made no such proposals here.
- Why hasn’t that been mentioned in any of the Company’s e-mails? Only George Hearst can answer that question for you.
- I understand the Guild proposed that the Company could skip 10 percent of the people laid off outside of seniority. If the Company thought that percentage was too low, why didn’t it counter with a higher one rather than seek to lay off anyone no matter how long and loyally they have served? Only George Hearst can answer that question.
- An older employee who is laid off will likely have a more difficult time finding a job, will likely have a greater need for health insurance and, as I understand it, will risk having their pension cut in half. Is that true? Yes.
- Why would the Company want to hurt its loyal employees that way? Only George Hearst can answer that question for you.
- Why has the Company refused to share any information on what jobs would be outsourced? If it did, you’d vote no.
- Does the Company honestly think we’ll believe it canceled the contract, cut off dues and threatened impasse to obtain outsourcing language it has “no plans” to use? Only George Hearst can answer that question.
- Is it true that the Company’s creation of a magazine division created new Guild jobs, as Hearst said in his recent e-mail? No, new Guild jobs were created. One employee was moved into the division part-time after the Guild filed a grievance saying both other employees could not reasonably be exempt when they weren’t supervising any union members. The magazines are entirely written by freelancers.
- Why would he say something so obviously untrue? Only George Hearst can answer that question for you.
- If we vote this proposal down, shouldn’t the Company respect its employees’ decision and come back to the table to offer reasonable language on outsourcing and seniority? It certainly should.
- Would it be in the Company’s interest to declare an impasse and attempt to force this language on us if we vote it down? Absolutely not. It would be in everyone’s best interest to come to a reasonable settlement.
- Does the Guild have the support of Capital Region labor unions? Yes, as George Hearst well knows because they came in for a meeting with him and have called him by the score. He also has heard from many public officials who have urged him to be reasonable, and he has ignored all of them.
- Why doesn’t the publisher acknowledge the outpouring of public support the Guild has received? Only George Hearst can answer that question for you.
- The publisher claimed in his e-mail he had no idea what a member in good standing of a labor union is. Does he really not know? Of course he knows. He’s just not being honest with you.