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Newsletter: Why pay dues, commission plan concerns, and upcoming Guild functions

A message from the President

The dust is still settling from the layoffs imposed by the Company earlier this month, but we’re keeping a watchful eye on where the work goes from the five people who were cut the week of July 15. 

I know the latest cuts have left a sour taste in everyone’s mouths, especially with the error made on the part of the Company, but please remember that the Guild is here to fight for you. There are undoubted protections within our contract that we want to make sure you’re receiving, and the best way to do so is by contacting a board member and learning more about those rights.

Often I’ve heard about how we haven’t received a raise, so why should I pay dues? What is the Guild doing for me?

I, too, was skeptical of whether it was worth the additional deduction in my paycheck that barely covered rent, utilities and the dreaded student loan bills. But then I looked at what our contract truly gave me – better wages than any newsroom I’ve worked in, a no pay cuts clause – which is huge because our industry isn’t seeing raises no matter where you are, and financial security when I retire. 

On top of the securities in the contract, there are Guild members who will be by your side helping you to navigate disciplinary or work environment issues. It’s also an opportunity to tap into the national Guild’s resources. 

Lastly, the dues help to build and maintain the family we’ve created here at the Times Union. From the happy hours and night-out events to Christmas parties and the Guild picnic, we recognize that opportunity for camaraderie and connecting with fellow employees makes us all stronger. 

It’s something the Company is watching carefully because they’ve been trying to break the Guild for years. Don’t let them win. Newsrooms across the country are mobilizing and forming unions. We’re lucky enough to already have a solid base to work off of, and with each member’s input and support we can make our Guild stronger and improve the workplace many of us see as a second home. 

Yours in solidarity,

Amanda Fries

President, Albany Newspaper Guild

 

A farewell to Guild employees

Through the recent buyouts and layoffs, the Guild is wishing a fond farewell for 10 Guild employees who either took buyouts or were laid off during the Company’s pursuit of reducing the workforce.

We’ll be raising a toast to all those who are leaving (or have left) the Times Union from 6 to 8 p.m., Wednesday, Aug. 7 at the Warehouse Grill & BBQ on Wolf Road. 

flyer_members send-off

Both past and present Guild-eligible employees are welcome, and we encourage everyone to pop in to wish congratulations and all the best in each of our fellow coworkers’ next endeavors.

 

End of summer picnic

We’ve talked a lot about building camaraderie, and the Guild’s annual picnic is a great way to do that. 

Plans are still being finalized, but you can tentatively mark your calendars for Sunday, Sept. 15 for the family-friendly Guild picnic. More information on the picnic will be released in the upcoming weeks. 

We’ve switched up the time hoping an after summer, school’s back in session timing will draw more of you out for food, games and friends. There will be plenty of food for past and present Guild members and their loved ones, along with games for adults and children. 

 

Sales commission plan concerns

The Guild has been made aware of concern over the Company’s recently implemented commission plan, and has been working with Company executives and Guild-eligible employees to determine the best course of action.

We hope to be able to resolve concerns and ensure the established Commission Committee’s recommendations and suggestions are considered by the Company rather than having a plan foisted upon employees. 

While Company executives have ignored Guild outreach thus far on the issue, we intend to continue pushing for dialogue on the matter. Anyone who may be interested in getting involved or providing perspective on the matter, please reach out to Guild President Amanda Fries at amanda@albanyguild.org.

 

Getting a seat at the table

For too long Guild members haven’t had a genuine seat at the table regarding Company matters, despite regular cuts to the workforce through buyouts and, more recently, layoffs. 

Thankfully, as a union, we can ensure that our rights are being protected and can bring up ideas for improvements to the workplace. This is something the Guild wants to push for, but we need everyone’s input. 

These ideas can be anything from improving interactions between Guild members and management to ways we can tap new revenue sources or save money elsewhere. 

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