• Guild and Times Union See Progress

    Bargaining Bulletin #5:

    The Albany Newspaper Guild and the Times Union reached verbal tentative agreements on nine contract sections Thursday as bargaining for a new contract continued.

    The sections include Non-Discrimination, Disputes Adjustment, Strike and Lockout, Military Service, Outside Activity, Experience Credit, No Pay Cuts, Bulletin Boards, and Individual Increases.

    The Guild negotiating team of President Ken Crowe, Vice President Ty Stewart, and Steward Wendy Liberatore said the agreements and the discussions on other topics showed that the Guild and Times Union teams are making progress.

    The Company presented counter-proposals to those made by the Guild on short-term and long-disability insurance and vacation time,

    Extensive talks were held about the Guild’s proposal to include our Diversity Committee Report as a side letter to the contract and the creation of the Senator George Hearst/Heywood Broun Fellowships to increase diversity in the Times Union workforce and encouraging internships with pay and educational credit.  In response to Company questions, the Guild said it would work jointly with management in seeking out candidates.  Company representatives pointed out that many of the diversity initiatives have been put into effect by management.

    The Times Union provided an explanation of what is considered gross misconduct which could be used for firing a Guild unit member without receiving severance.  Some examples include misuse of confidential information, offering or accepting bribes, a severe breach of health & safety regulations, serious insubordination, discrimination or harassment, setup of a competing business, intentional property damage, causing loss, damage, or injury through negligence, and using company equipment to access pornographic or offensive material.

    Bargaining will break for three weeks due to previously scheduled vacations on both sides.  Negotiations resume on Wednesday, July 13.

  • Guild and Times Union Review Proposal

    Bargaining Bulletin #4:

    The Albany Newspaper Guild and the Times Union bargaining teams met Wednesday for the second time in the newest round of contract negotiations.

    The Guild team asked questions in a section-by-section review of the company’s contract proposal.  This was done in order to understand the company’s stance on its proposals.

    The Guild and Times Union negotiating teams return to the bargaining table Thursday morning.

  • Guild Begins Bargaining for New Contract

    Bargaining Bulletin #3:

    The Albany Newspaper Guild and the Times Union opened negotiations for a new contract Wednesday at the newspaper’s offices in Colonie.

    The Guild was represented by President Ken Crowe, Vice President Ty Stewart and Shop Steward Wendy Liberatore. Sitting across the table representing the Company were Ruth Fantasia, executive Human Resources director; Dan Couto, vice president of operations and integrated services; and Melinda Jermison, human resources business partner.

    Both sides offered comprehensive proposals and agreed to issue a joint statement. The Company has sent the statement to your Times Union email. The statement is included below.

    Ken Crowe started the bargaining by reading an opening statement. Ken said:

    The Albany Newspaper Guild elected an Executive Board to bargain a new contract. It’s good to be back at the bargaining table after such a long hiatus.

    Guild and Company leaders have met many times since mid-2019. We have established open and frank communications. Together we have dealt with the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    During that time, the Guild has expressed its view that the Times Union is becoming a destination media company where people will want to work. The Times Union has the potential to be the dominant media in print and online between Buffalo and Boston and New York City and Montreal.

    What defines a company is how it treats its employees. The Guild and the Company have the opportunity to make the Times Union an even better place to work and serve the mission of protecting our democracy.

    Our unit members have gone 15 years since their last contractual raise. Without increased pay they have seen their spending power cut by 31 percent through the end of 2021. This year, 2022, inflation continues to take a high toll on our members’ financial resources.

    Our members have told us what they want in a new contract. They want job security and stronger seniority. They want higher wages, a better and secure retirement package, and better and affordable health care. They want the ability to work remotely, have more time to spend with their families, and to deal with the increasing stresses of their jobs.

    Also important to them is to see a commitment to creating a more diverse workforce at the Times Union, and recognizing the diversity of those currently employed, by supporting them in celebrating their culture and heritage.

    It’s time to bargain a new contract.

    The Guild’s contract proposal was based on the contract survey we conducted earlier this year, reviews of other The NewsGuild/Communication Workers of America (TNG/CWA) locals’ contracts, the benefits that managers and other unions at the Times Union receive and in-depth discussions by Executive Board members that have been ongoing for more than a year.

    Melissa Nelson, former Albany Guild president and TNG/CWA director of contracts, has been assisting our local. We have access to TNG/CWA legal advice and other resources.

    The start of negotiations in June is historically the month in which we begin bargaining. Both the Guild and the Company also followed tradition in reserving presentation of the wage proposals until a later date.

    Here is the joint statement issued by the Guild and the Company after the first day of bargaining:

    Representatives from the Company and the Albany Newspaper Guild met today for the first time in years to discuss a new contract. Both sides presented long, far-ranging proposals encompassing all aspects of working at the Times Union. There is much hard work ahead of us to reach an agreement. Both sides look forward to the challenge and the open discussions to follow.

    The next date for negotiations is Wednesday, June 15. Local members may attend negotiation sessions on their own time to observe contract talks.

  • Guild Begins Bargaining June 8th

    Bargaining Bulletin #2:

    We start talks with the Times Union for a new contract on Wednesday June 8th.

    The Albany Newspaper Guild’s Executive Board will serve as the bargaining committee and has added other Guild members to the committee.

    The Executive Board promised when it took office that a new collective bargaining agreement would be negotiated. The pandemic delayed negotiations.

    When talks begin Wednesday, President Ken Crowe will be joined by Vice President Ty Stewart and Steward Wendy Liberatore at the bargaining table.  Other Executive Board members will be at the table as needed.

    The Executive Board has used the results of membership surveys to pull together a proposed contract. The proposal will be presented to the Company Wednesday when negotiations begin.

    The Guild’s and the Company’s respective leaderships have been communicating and have held in-depth discussions over the last two years that have dealt with Covid-19 working conditions and other topics.  Both sides have agreed it’s time to bargain a new contract.

    An aggressive negotiating schedule has been set with multiple meeting dates scheduled for June and July with six-hour bargaining sessions.

    The Executive Board will issue regular updates on bargaining.

  • LaPoint Elected Treasurer

    Theresa LaPoint of the Times Union advertising department was elected treasurer of the Albany Newspaper Guild at a membership meeting held on April 14.

    Theresa is a veteran Guild leader having previously served as the local’s treasurer. Theresa is experienced, compassionate, and insightful regarding issues that impact all Guild unit members. Theresa strengthens our Executive Board as the local heads into contract negotiations with the Times Union.

    Theresa’s term of office runs through the end of the year. She succeeds Jayson McKenna who recently left the Times Union to take on a new position.