Guild raises concerns about issues in advertising

Advertising employees are being asked to shoulder extraordinary burdens, prompting the Guild to ask for information about how workers can reasonably be expected to do all that is being asked of them.

Ad sales staff are being told they must make 5 in-person sales calls every day.

“Making a sales call not only requires travel time and time spent making the sales presentation, it also includes time spent researching the client to make an effective presentation, time to complete the paperwork for any ads sold or follow up information requested, as well as time the client may leave the advertising salesperson waiting,” Guild President Tim O’Brien wrote to HR Director Ruth Fantasia.

At the same time, the ad sales staff must spend time selling other products such as SEO, magazines, etc.  They must also provide quality customer service to their current customer base, expand growth potential of their customer base, while their goals are being raised and commissions lowered.

In addition, sales staff must attend a meeting every day, Monday through Thursday.

The Guild has asked for information on every employee who has been put on a performance improvement plan and will seek a meeting with Company leaders once that information is in hand.

“How is a salesperson supposed to manage five sales calls a day 5 days a week every week while meeting these other demands?” O’Brien wrote. “We understand there have been instances where ad sales staff were forced to cancel appointments with customers so they could spend their time booking future appointments. We have serious concerns about the legality of disciplining employees under these circumstances that we wish to discuss with you.”

The union also asked about the policy on managers sending emails and texts to employees, asking what the appropriate and inappropriate times of day are for managers to do so.

The Guild also is seeking information on what work is being done by Local Edge, whose employees are now attending sales training at the Times Union and are identifying themselves as Times Union employees. The manager of Local Edge is now supervising the SEO staff.

“For these reasons, we have concerns that the Local Edge team is now encroaching on Guild jurisdiction,” O’Brien wrote. “Please provide details on what Local Edge is permitted to do.”

If advertising employees have additional concerns they want to raise to the union,
please contact us at or by messaging our Facebook page at Albany Newspaper Guild.

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