Guild files charge over mistreatment of Lindsay LaFountain
The Newspaper Guild of Albany filed an unfair labor practice charge this week over the Company’s targeting of Guild First Vice President Lindsay LaFountain due to her union activity.
When Lindsay was on maternity leave, the Company eliminated her position. Although the contract requires a returning mother to be given a comparable one, Lindsay was given anything but. The Guild was originally told this was an inside sales position, but that proved inaccurate. Lindsay was told she could only set appointments, she could not make sales, and she was given unrealistic goals that were swiftly more than doubled.
Lindsay literally would have to make a phone call every seven minutes to reach the expected number of calls. That’s if she never went to the bathroom, did research or stepped away from her desk to grab a cup of coffee. And while the Company recently described the position as a “telemarketing job,” which is not what inside sales is, Lindsay is not given a list of potential companies to call. She has to get leads from other sales people and find most of them herself, all while making a call every 7 minutes.
Shortly after she began in the position, and before the Company had even decided how Lindsay would get leads, she was put on a performance improvement plan. Despite the Guild’s repeated demonstration no other employee is being asked to hit the metrics Lindsay is, the Company has not moved in changing the demands or allowing Lindsay to sell directly.
But worst of all, Lindsay has been subjected to a series of negative comments from top managers about her union activity. From immediate supervisors to the Human Resources director to the publisher himself, Lindsay has repeatedly faced negative comments about her being a union activist — all in violation of the law.
Lindsay has repeatedly asked the Company for assistance she has not been given: The name and number of employees at Hearst papers in Connecticut who allegedly do a similar job so she can talk to them, a request to visit the Connecticut operation to see how it’s done, or even a manager at the TU to sit by her side and advise her what she should be doing differently.
All this, while Lindsay has faced a very public exposure of issues in her private life.
“Despite all she is going through, Lindsay always comes to work with a smile on her face, focused on trying to do a job despite the obstacles placed before her and spending her own time still trying to help her colleagues,” Guild President Tim O’Brien said. “The Company has deliberately set Lindsay up to fail and set unrealistic goals no other employee faces, all while making clear her union involvement displeases the bosses. This is illegal, and the Guild will not stand by while one of our best and brightest activists — and one of the Times Union’s best and brightest employees — is subject to such denigrating treatment.”
Unfortunately, this comes as no suprise to me. I was an employee in the sales department for 2 years until the hiring of Kurt Vantosky (may be mispelled ) his way of management is crude and unrealistic. It’s very sad to hear of this treatment to a wonderful co-work and Union rep. Throughout my time spent at the Times Union Lindsay was the biggest help to my whole department, through her energy, attitude and determination. Wish I could say Wow, what a bad deal, but this is what the Times Union has become all thanks to the once kind and heartfelt publisher, who has started to resemble the character Scrooge then a man of honor. To Lindsay and Tom I know justice will win in the end.