Guild ?: Working for equity on COVID-19 benefits

A message from the President

Now two months into the stay-at-home order, we’ve hopefully all adapted to the “new normal” particularly when it comes to continuing business.

Specifically speaking, Zoom meetings!

That’s right, your Executive Board has gone virtual just like the rest of ‘em, and we want to continue expanding our virtual footprint with all of our members. If you’re interested in tuning into our next board meeting, Thursday, May 14, be sure to reach out for the Zoom log-in.

We’re also in the process of setting up Zoom calls that range from possible virtual game nights to small group meetings to discuss the benefits our union provides to members as well as to tackle issues that are most important to you. Be sure to keep an eye out for specific dates and times, and mark your calendars.

Lastly, I want to encourage you all to keep your eyes peeled for a call to action that the Guild is leading and needs your support. It’s all an effort to make sure each and every member is compensated fairly during these uncertain times.

While working from home has become a bit monotonous for all of us, I’m looking forward to finding creative and fun ways to connect with all of you despite the obstacles.

Be well and stay safe!

Yours in solidarity,

Amanda Fries
President, Albany Newspaper Guild

Working for compensation for personal cell phone use

The Guild has been pressing the Times Union about treating everyone fairly and paying everyone for using their cell phones while working from home. We know that many of us did not receive a monthly stipend for cell phone use as some employees do.

Local President Amanda Fries has raised this issue with Publisher George Hearst in private conversations and during meetings of the Joint Committee. The Guild has worked on developing a cooperative relationship with the company.

The Guild’s cell phone campaigns began in December when it was requested that the advertising sales force be paid $50 instead of the $35 they were receiving. After several months, the company raised the stipend to $50. This recognized that the sales representatives are using their cell phones all the time in their work.

The Guild has argued that this situation is now true for workers who previously didn’t use cell phones as they worked exclusively from the main office. The situation has changed with the coronavirus pandemic.

The company should recognize this and pay each person who previously didn’t receive reimbursement for their cell phone. The Guild has asked for a $50 monthly payment until the emergency is over and workers return to the main office.

It’s fair treatment.

Fair compensation for personal internet use sought amid work from home order

When we’re at work, the Times Union provides the computers necessary for us to perform our jobs and the internet access needed in the modern office. The Guild has asked the company to pay employees $75 monthly for using their private internet service while working from home.

The Guild has heard from some members that they can’t afford to make higher internet payments to perform their jobs. The Times Union can do the right thing by paying for the internet access needed for the company to operate when employees have been told to work from home.

The Times Union’s equipment is worthless without the internet connection. That’s why the company provides it in the office. We’ve requested this payment be made to help relieve another stress that’s been placed on those using their own internet to keep the paper appearing in print and online.

We’re waiting to hear a response on our proposal.

Guild seeks equitable treatment of employees on lump sum payments

The Times Union issued a $350 payment to Guild-represented workers who have gone out in the field to perform their work during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Guild has requested that this payment — which we’ve termed hazardous duty pay — be extended to everyone.

Any one of us could be directed to go out to perform our jobs. What if you haven’t received this payment previously? And what of employees who’ve gone out and not been paid the $350? We have uncovered one instance where this has happened. If you’re been out and have not been paid the $350, let your officers know.

Help the Guild help you

Expect to hear from the Guild’s Executive Board in the near future. You’ll be contacted and asked to take a small action. It’s important. Be on the outlook!!!!


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