Guild makes buyout proposal

The Guild’s committee is meeting with the Times Union today over the proposal for buyouts in editorial.

The committee proposed several changes to the company’s offer of three weeks’ pay for each year of service, with a minimum of 15 weeks and a maximum of one year, and health insurance for the same period.

Rather than cap the buyout at one year, the union proposed no cap. Many employees have more than 17 years of experience and would be affected by the cap. Some have more than 26 years’ experience and would get more money if laid off than if they take a buyout. (The contract language, which remains in effect, says laid-off workers get two weeks’ pay for each year of service with a 62-week cap.)

The union also proposed eliminating the early retirement penalty. Workers who retire before age 65 lose 5 percent off their pension for every year. If you retire at 55, your pension is cut in half. Retire at 60, you lose 25 percent. That is a serious disincentive for a worker who might otherwise consider a buyout.

The Guild proposal also says that people taking the buyout would not have to pay the health care deductible in 2012. If someone declines health insurance, they could receive half of the annual premium.

The proposal also includes including differentials an employee would normally receive in calculating wages. The Guild will ask the company to consider extending the offer to other departments and, if so, for commissions to be included for advertising employees.

The committee representing the union includes President Tim O’Brien ,Chief Steward Brian Nearing, Third Vice President Jeff Boyer and Page Designer Gillian Scott.

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