Parties agree to show you off-the-record proposals

Both parties agreed Tuesday to allow members to see for the first time what was proposed behind closed doors as the parties tried to settle the contract. This information is being released for communication purposes only and cannot be used by either party in any legal proceeding.

We’re grateful to Publisher George Hearst for agreeing to let you see what the two parties have proposed, and we hope sharing this information will help you see that the Guild has been striving to compromise while protecting our members’ interests.

Here’s how the two proposals break down on the major issues that have been making reaching a settlement difficult.


WHAT THE GUILD WANTED: To keep our original language, which required layoffs to be by reverse order of seniority by department.

WHAT THE COMPANY WANTED: To eliminate the union’s right to bargain over layoffs, making everyone vulnerable to a potential layoff no matter how long their service.

WHERE THE GUILD WAS WILLING TO MOVE: The company could use up to 20 “skips” whereby they exempt selected individuals from out of seniority layoffs. We stated that number was meant to be a starting point for a conversation.

WHERE THE COMPANY MOVED: It would bargain over layoffs only after 90 people had been let go over the two-year life of the contract. The company has not laid off that many people in a century. It would wipe out 40 percent of the workforce. This is a move on paper only.


WHAT THE GUILD WANTED: To keep the protections we had that barred the company from outsourcing work if it would displace a staff position.

WHAT THE COMPANY WANTED: To eliminate the union’s right to bargain over outsourcing.

WHERE THE GUILD WAS WILLING TO MOVE: The Guild was willing to accept the language the company imposed in 2009, which requires bargaining over outsourcing but does not ban it.

WHERE THE COMPANY MOVED: The company would negotiate over outsourcing only after 90 jobs were outsourced. Again, this is a move on paper only.

The last written proposal both parties shared was in April 2011. The company declined to meet again for a bargaining session until November. At that session, the union had prepared and offered to make a new comprehensive settlement proposal but the company said it would only listen to a proposal on settling the NLRB case.

Our summary above includes what was verbally said by the Guild to the company about its willingness to move. Our written April proposal called for a $750 bonus on signing and a 2 percent raise on the first anniversary of ratification, which would have been this spring. The company proposed a $1,500 signing bonus with no raise. We proposed the laid-off workers get $50,000 each; the company offered $1,500.

You can read the company’s April 2009 proposal here.

You can read the Guild’s April 2009 proposal here.

One Comment

  • Taftclearance

    As far as I am concerned, the Guild’s offer to allow “skips” was a tremendously significant move. It’s an offer to undermine one of the basic tenets of unionism in order to move closer to a deal. I don’t understand why, after an eon of seniority being one of the bedrocks of a union contract, all of a sudden it is under attack in union contracts everywhere. I consider it an assault against older workers.
    I am not at all happy that any move to weaken seniority protection is included in the Guild’s offer. But to think that the company wants to throw it out altogether…it is a shameful attack on older workers. Don’t get me wrong; I support my union 100 percent. But the thought of a 30-year worker being laid off to save the job of someone with one year of service is an outrage. It also makes me wonder how that would stand up in court under discrimination laws.

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