News on Local Edge, Obamacare impact

Local Edge workers to become employees
Guild to represent them; no more separate staff selling SEO

The Guild learned Tuesday that employees who have been working for Local Edge and selling ads into the Times Union will become Guild-represented employees.

Two of the employees are being let go by Local Edge, while the other four will join the Times Union officially effective July 1, Human Resources Director Ruth Fantasia told the union. The Company recognized that the Guild would have rights to represent them as part of the bargaining unit.

Local Edge was the successor to the Talking Phone Book. When Hearst got out of the telephone book business, it kept the staff and had its employees sell search engine optimization. While the Guild had always watched closely to be sure that Local Edge’s efforts did not displace any of our positions, outsourcing that would have required negotiation, we are glad these workers will become part of the operation and will welcome them aboard.

What will Obamacare mean for 2014?

Leaders of the Guild, mailers and pressmen’s union met with the Company Tuesday for a preliminary discussion of what the health care changes that take effect in 2014 could mean.

Of most immediate interest is the plan’s stipulation that large employers either provide affordable coverage or pay a penalty. The “affordability” standard is that individual premium rates may not be more than 9.5% of an employee’s total household income. The Company raised a concern that it’s possible a Guild employee could meet that threshold. If an employee did and sought to buy coverage through a state-based health insurance exchange, an employer could face a penalty of $3,000 per employee who receives the federal subsidy.

The health plan administrator, Rowlands and Barranca, said some employers may choose to offer multiple choices so that at least one of them meets the standards.

All of this discussion was interesting but changes may be made before the plan takes effect or its effective dates could be changed. The Guild and other unions appreciated the information presented Tuesday, and the conversations will resume in detail in the fall when more information is known.

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