The Times Union proposed Thursday to eliminate the internal print shop and outsource the work to Connecticut, a move that could cost a 13-year employee his job.
Over the years, Mark DeCenzo has worked diligently in a small room off the back shop. He’s printed business cards, rack cards, posters, envelopes, letterhead and business forms. It’s a demanding job, and he’s made literally tens of millions of impressions on the two-color offset press he runs.
Mark has been a printer since he was 15 years old. His wife, Tina, works in the business office. The couple has a 10-month-old daughter. Both of their families live in the Capital Region so a layoff for Mark would be particularly devastating. The Times Union wants to send the work to a nonunion Hearst paper in Danbury, Conn.
“The Company refused to divulge what jobs it wanted to outsource prior to the contract vote, but it has made swift work of trying to outsource our work after declaring impasse,” Guild President Tim O’Brien said. “Now the bosses have made clear they looking at what work they can ship off to a nonunion newspaper where the pay and benefits are less.”
After speaking to Mark at lunch time, the Guild proposed that the Company look into use Mark’s skills to increase revenue rather than lay him off. For example, the Times Union now pays outside contractors a premium to print the single-page Smart Sheets advertisers pay to have placed in the newspaper. Mark has said he’d be willing to do that work.
“Rather than lay off a devoted, loyal worker with a new baby, we believe the Times Union should be looking to find ways to take advantage of the great skill and knowledge Mark brings to his work,” Guild President Tim O’Brien said.
Company bargainers said they had not looked into the possibility of using the print shop as a revenue source but they would do so and respond. The parties next meet at 10 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 13.
The Times Union also is looking to outsource two full-time and one part-time maintenance jobs and to transfer that work to an independent contractor. One of the maintenance workers the Company has said it intends to lay off is a single father whose wife recently passed away who has a 13-year-old daughter.
The Guild maintains the outsourcing of any work is improper. The National Labor Relations Board is investigating the legality of the Company’s declaration of impasse.
The Guild also had a discussion in the morning with the Company over the 14th person laid off. The employee had been on a three-week vacation and returned to learn he was losing his job. Suspecting that may be the case, the worker had e-mailed in advance to ask if he could go directly to the personnel office rather than be walked there by a manager the moment he came into work. Like many of the Times Union workers, he thought that was a more dignified way to be let go than the way the company had treated others.