Members ready to fight for overdue raises

Guild members are ready to start taking action to convince the company it’s time to reach a contract with us.

At a membership meeting at lunch time Thursday, 25 members attended. They learned that discussions to reach the final settlement in the NLRB case are nearing completion as the numbers owed to the 11 workers are being finalized. Health care and pension information has been shared as the parties work to finalize the settlement based on the agreement in principle that has been reached.

Members discussed how to convince the company that employees deserve raises after 5 years without salary hikes, and to show management that giving away our bargaining rights is not an acceptable path. Members shared ideas on mobilizing, both internally and externally. We’ll share those ideas as we’re ready to implement them.

“We tried to use the NLRB case as leverage to get a contract, but the company wasn’t interested in compromising,” Guild President Tim O’Brien said. “Now the members will once again have to actively mobilize to show they are hungry for a raise, and people are committed to doing so. Five years is too long especially with all the added work people are asked to do as more and more staff has been cut.”

The union also discussed the fact that a U.S. Labor Department auditor will be reviewing the Guild’s record-keeping in early June. This is a common occurrence, as many Guild locals have been through the process. Our local last underwent such a review in 2003.
The Guild has an outside firm examine our books every year, and that information is still in boxes that will be made available to the federal auditor. The union will let members know the results of the review.

In a way, the review is well-timed. The Guild’s office manager, John Piekarski, is leaving to take a full-time job, and the Executive Board voted Thursday to hire our former treasurer, Dan Roesser, to replace him.

“We will miss John greatly both personally and professionally. He is a very creative person, and his new employer is very lucky to have him,” O’Brien said. “We’re lucky too, in that Dan was available and is well acquainted with the union and how it functions. Since he was treasurer during the year the auditor will review, he will be able to be in the office with her and answer any questions she has.”

Members ended the meeting with a moment of silence in memory of Teamsters Local President Michael Cipollo, who led his union at the newspaper for 40 years.

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