On Friday, June 18, 2021 raises will be included in this week’s paychecks for members of the Albany Newspaper Guild unit. There will be retroactive pay back to the beginning of June.
The raises are from a merit pay pool that Publisher George Hearst described in a recent all hands meeting.
The Guild has taken the position that under the McClatchy Doctrine a merit pool distribution, as portrayed by the publisher, should be subject to negotiations between the Guild and Times Union management. The company disagrees citing the merit pay provisions of our contract. The Guild has not waived any of its rights to take future action on this issue.
Our Guild recognizes that many of us have gone without a raise since Aug. 1, 2007. We don’t want members to miss out on a chance at a raise. This is the first time that merit pay raises have been paid across the unit.
The company has been working on this merit pay pool since last year. The raises range from 1 percent to 6 percent from an overall pool of about 3 percent.
The Guild has not been idle while the company has developed the metrics and components of its merit pool system. In March, we asked for a 2 percent pay hike to be applied directly to the top scales of each job classification. The Guild believes that everyone deserves the same percentage raise.
The company rejected this saying it was planning to pay out merit raises in the next several months.
The Pay Equity Study that was presented to the company in May pointed out issues with the way past merit pay had been awarded to some members of our bargaining unit while others were ignored completely.
The study findings forced the company to delay issuing the raises while it reevaluated who would be awarded raises from its newly configured merit pool. As a result, some changes were made by the company.
The Guild will receive information on all the raises, including percentages and amounts, and will review each of them closely.
Future work by the members of the Pay Equity Committee will assess these same raises in terms of pay equity. An additional study will also be conducted to evaluate advertising commissions in terms of equity. This area of compensation is a complex topic that the committee was unable to include in this year’s pay study. However, the Guild is committed to reviewing this aspect of wages within the framework of pay equity in the near future.