By a more than three-to-one margin, employees of the Times Union voted today to reject a contract offer that would have given the company the power to outsource any and all jobs and lay off employees regardless of how long they had worked at the newspaper.
Publisher George Hearst had insisted on the vote and strongly encouraged members to participate. The members rejected the proposal by a vote of 125 to 35.
“Had the membership approved the company’s proposal, we would have respected their decision and been bound by it,” said Guild President Tim O’Brien. “The publisher sought this vote, told members how important it was to him that they vote and he needs to respect their decision. Our members were quite clear on what they found unacceptable in the company’s offer and they have been telling us what changes would make it acceptable. We intend to seek new bargaining dates and to go forward with a renewed spirit of flexibility.”
The publisher should take a renewed look at the proposal, listen to the concerns of his employees and come back to the table ready to compromise.
“As a sign of our good faith, the Guild is suspending its advertising campaign so that we can go forward with a new spirit of collaboration,” O’Brien said. “We look forward to returning to the table, and we believe the parties can and should come together in a compromise that will reflect both the perilous nature of our times as well as the need to continue to produce a quality newspaper staffed by local employees.”