From Tim O’Brien:
I was walking in the grocery store the other day when a former colleague who took the buyout in the spring called out to me. “I’m glad to see you,” he said. “I want to write you a check.”
No one has ever said that to me before. The colleague explained that he had forgotten in the final month of work to pay his dues. I demurred, saying not to worry about it. “No, no,” he replied. “I’ve always felt guilty about it. I’ve intended to write it a dozen times. So I am glad to see you. I have my checkbook with me. I appreciate all the Guild did for me. I am writing you the check.”
And so he did. (Not made out to me, of course, but to the Guild.)
It’s moments like these that make my day and make me realize how important the Guild still is to our members. People stop and thank me, for example, for working hard to prove that our internal printer Mark DeCenzo deserves to stay at the Times Union.
I know it is frustrating right now, and sometimes it seems like the Company can just do whatever it wants and ignore the Guild. As you’ll hear more about soon, they can’t, though it takes time and patience to correct that misjudgment.
But there are lots of things the Guild still does and still protects you from. The Company cannot lay people off and refuse to pay severance, for example. It could if we didn’t have a union. It couldn’t split your days off without your consent. It cannot cut your pay. All those things could happen without a union.
Even in trying times, the Guild is still there for its members. And I am so grateful for those moments when people express their thanks — even if it’s a surprising encounter at the supermarket.