The Executive Board approved a $1,000 bonus payment Wednesday that will be provided to Albany Newspaper Guild unit members who are not on a commission or bonus program.
Here are the details presented to the local on Wednesday by the company:
“As in the last few years the Company has decided to provide employees with a bonus based on corporate performance. Here are the terms to receive the bonus:
- Employee must have been hired prior to Oct. 1, 2023
- Employee must have worked at least 1,000 hours in 2022
- If the employee is on a commission or bonus plan, they are excluded from receiving the bonus
- Bonus is 1% of gross income with a minimum of $1,000.
Almost all of our employees not on commissions or bonus plans will receive $1,000.”
Any questions may be directed to the local at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It is with a great deal of sadness that the Albany Newspaper Guild reports the passing of Bruce Nelson, a retired Guild international representative, who came to Albany to assist our local and in many ways never left. Bruce died Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2023 after an illness.
Bruce was a friend, mentor and eventually an Albany Guild member who provided support and leadership in assisting our local when he first arrived in the early 1990s.
Bruce found friends among our ranks, respect from Times Union leaders and perhaps most importantly established family ties. Bruce met, fell in love with and married former Albany Guild President Melissa Nelson.
While both Melissa and Bruce have retired from The News Guild and lived in Laurel, Maryland, that did not end their support for us in our current contract negotiations with the Times Union. Melissa has been providing us advice during our contract negotiations. Melissa relayed Bruce’s observations about our situation which helped us immensely.
Bruce was extremely intelligent, possessed insight, was a keen judge of human nature, had a sly sense of humor, friendly and had a knowledge of labor relations that benefitted not only all of us in Albany, but across the Guild.
Bruce arrived in Albany when our local leadership asked then international Guild President Chuck Dale to send us his best international field rep. Bruce arrived and that began a relationship of more than 30 years between him and our local.
Melissa has been providing us advice and support during our contract negotiations. Melissa relayed Bruce’s observations about our situation which helped us immensely.
An obituary for Bruce will be running in the Times Union, the Washington Post and the two Minnesota newspapers where he began his journalism career as a reporter and went to work for the Guild.
Services will be held next week in Laurel, Maryland.
Bargaining Bulletin #12:
Tentative Agreement Reached on Most of Contract
The Albany Newspaper Guild and the Times Union have reached tentative agreements on nearly all of our contract sections.
The Wednesday bargaining session saw both sides conduct a section by section review of the proposed contract. We will be moving into negotiating the economics — wages and benefits — and deal with the outstanding contract sections including outsourcing.
We will not be back to bargaining until the week of Jan. 9, 2022 due to vacations, the holidays and the Times Union wanting to work on its economic proposal.
“We’ve been negotiating since June. It’s a long process after not conducting any contract talks since mid-2009,” said Guild President Ken Crowe.
The Company and the Guild have been able to have frank conversations during the talks.
The Guild negotiating team of Crowe, Vice President Ty Stewart and Secretary Wendy Liberatore will meet next week for a comprehensive review of our proposed economic package.
Membership Approves Outsourcing Severance
The membership during a special meeting approved a severance for three print desk members whose jobs are being outsourced to Hearst operations in Connecticut and Houston.
We had anticipated losing as many as 15 positions, but due to previously negotiated buyouts, transfers within the Times Union and vacancies, we avoided the wholesale cuts.
Membership vote set on outsourcing agreement
The Albany Newspaper Guild and the Times Union have reached agreement on a severance package for the three unit members whose print desk jobs are being outsourced as of April 15, 2023.
The agreement includes severance, health insurance, a retention bonus if work continues beyond April 15, 2023 and pension improvements. Details will be discussed at the Dec. 8, 2022 membership meeting at 6 p.m. on Zoom to consider approval.
Contract negotiations moving ahead
The Guild and the Times Union have reached a tentative agreement on a remote work policy. Both sides have worked for over a year on this policy. It benefits our members and management.
The Guild and the Times Union also agreed on a management rights clause. These clauses are nearly universal in Guild contracts. We are only one of two locals without one. We were able to reach agreement on a slimmed down clause compared to what the company wanted.
We continued discussions of the company’s desire for outsourcing language. The company doesn’t want to back off its imposed conditions. Before the 2008 contract negotiations, our local apparently had the only Guild contract that did not permit outsourcing.
The company made its wages proposal. No surprise here. It calls for no raises. It says there would be merit raises after a unit member reaches top scale. They can give merit raises now. The membership is in saying raises are a top priority.
Bargaining continues this week.
The Guild and the Times Union will meet at 3 p.m. Monday, November 14, 2022, to bargain a severance package for Guild unit members on the print (copy) desk whose work is being outsourced to Hearst operations in Houston and Connecticut.
At this time, it’s anticipated two positions will be cut.
The Times Union appears to be one of the last newspapers in the country to outsource its page design work. Earlier this year, the Buffalo News sent its work to the Lee Newspapers design center. The Buffalo Guild bargained over that in its last round of contract talks.
Our editorial members were told about the outsourcing Thursday afternoon. Guild leaders announce bargaining would take place Monday.
At the same time, the San Francisco Chronicle was telling its Guild-represented employees that they were facing the same development. San Francisco will make the switch to the central design hub in January. Albany will do it on April 15.
Our local has gone through outsourcing before in the Advertising, Business, and Circulation Departments. It’s never easy to deal with these developments. It’s very hard on our colleagues who will be losing their jobs. Everyone has received severance packages.
The Albany Newspaper Guild will continue its lobbying efforts to obtain tax breaks for newspapers for their local employees in New York State. The NYS AFL-CIO is assisting us in this effort to keep local newspaper jobs. The New York News Publishers Association also is participating. We’ve already met with Gov. Kathy Hochul’s finance staff on this topic in an effort to include it in next year’s state budget.
At the bargaining table Monday for our local will be President Ken Crowe, Secretary Wendy Liberatore, and At-Large Board Member David Johnson.