Once again, the Guild has offered to settle our long-standing contract dispute to give our members the raises they have long deserved.
It is the 10th time since 2010 that the Guild has made a settlement offer. The Company meanwhile is still insisting on the same offer overwhelmingly rejected by members in 2009, the one that would provide no raises, a one-time $1,000 bonus and gut layoff and outsourcing language.
The Guild’s newest proposal calls for 2 percent raises retroactive to August 1, 2014 and on August 1 in 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018. Previously, the union had proposed retro pay going back to 2011.
With just under 180 members now, the pay raise would be equal to about $185,000 for the first year, hardly a challenge for the Hearst Corp.
The Guild would also agree that members would pay 24 percent of the cost of health insurance premiums effective January 1, 2016 and 25 percent a year later. Under the imposed conditions, that percentage is frozen at 23 percent.
The Guild would allow the Company to make out-of-seniority layoffs, but it would have to guarantee the added severance for those let go could not be taken away in the next round of bargaining. And we also proposed reducing the early retirement penalty so anyone laid off between ages 55 and 65 would take less of a hit on their pensions.
We dropped a proposal to increase the pension multiplier to improve everyone’s retirement pay.
With outsourcing, what the Guild proposes is what the Company can do now under imposed conditions: It must bargain with the union. The law does not allow the Company to impose what it wants — a blank check to outsource — and for good reason.
“We continue to work for a complete settlement,” Guild President Tim O’Brien said. “Unfortunately, our efforts continue to be a one-way street with Company officials disinterested in rewarding employees for their many years of hard work. The good news is the imposed conditions mean everything stays in place: The Company cannot reduce pay, eliminate the pension, or change the differentials or vacation time accruals. All those benefits remain intact, but our members deserve more than the status quo. Raises are about more than money. They are about respect.”