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Extended buyout deadline, your right to a pension, and other Guild happenings

To my wonderful, hardworking colleagues:

It’s been quite the whirlwind since I was elected Guild president on June 13!

Since then, the Guild has been working to regroup, strategize, connect with members and address issues that have been brought to our attention. To those I’ve met, it’s been such a pleasure chatting with you. To those I haven’t met, I hope to be doing so soon.

We’ve also have had a few successes, as you’ll read later in this post. All of this is important to keep in mind as they’re the benefits and securities that are ensured through our contract and union. Although we’ve struggled to get a fair contract from the Company, there are several protections that still come into play.

One of the most basics is your right to union representation during meetings with your supervisors. You deserve to have someone who is going to represent you and protect your rights, and you can request that representation at any time during a meeting and even prior to a meeting if you believe a “friendly chat” could lead to disciplinary action.

So, as we head into the warmer months of the summer season, don’t ever hesitate to reach out to the Guild because we’re here for YOU.

Yours in solidarity,

Amanda Fries

President, Albany Newspaper Guild

An earlier version of this newsletter went out to Guild-eligible members at the beginning of the week, June 25, and has been updated to note other events that occurred following the newsletter’s issuing. 

Buyout extension

As most of you are aware, the Guild worked with the Company to delay and mitigate expected layoffs by securing an extension on the deadline for Guild-eligible employees to apply for a buyout. The new deadline is now 5 p.m., Friday, July 5.

Read more about this small win for the Guild in an earlier post.

Pension

It has come to the Guild’s attention that new employees are being informed they do not get a pension. This is inaccurate. The Guild pension is protected under our contract, and any changes or eliminates to the retirement benefit must be negotiated.

Here’s a rundown of your benefit: 2019-06-28 Pension Update

Upon releasing this information to Guild-eligible employees, the Company reached out to the Guild claiming that there is a financial impact with the pension to the Times Union. We have not been provided with documentation that proves this claim.

Employee in need of time off

The Company on Friday issued a request on the behalf of a Times Union employee dealing with a health issue who is looking for donated sick time. Negotiated by the Guild is a provision within the contract that allows members to donate unused sick, or vacation, time to another employee who has used up their accrued time.

Guild members can donate up to three sick days to the employee. Be sure to check your work email, or reach out to the Times Union’s Human Resources department to fill out the proper paperwork if you wish to assist a fellow coworker in need.

Fire relief

After a devastating fire where Guild member Crystal Baumes and her fiancé lost nearly everything, the Guild stepped in to provide financial support in their time of need. Thankfully, no one – not even their cat – was injured in the fire. They are doing well and have found a place to relocate. Baumes said she was thankful for all the assistance she’s received during this time.

The executive board recently approved allowing the president to allocate up to $1,000 to members during crises like devastating fires to members’ homes.

Vacation time and scheduling

In our first week with a new make-up on the executive board, we were success in securing a Guild member’s requested vacation time, which was in jeopardy due to the Company scheduling the member to work on time that had been requested off months prior.

The Board will continue to work for members to ensure that requested time off is honored properly and is investigating other concerns with scheduling in various departments.

Outgoing employee

The Guild ensured an outgoing Guild member and Times Union employee received full pay through their last day as well as fair compensation for their commission in the month of June, after the member was asked to leave prior to their last day.

 

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