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.
Bargaining Bulletin #11:
After the Albany Newspaper Guild provided a comprehensive analysis of the Times Union’s management rights proposal, union negotiators then countered with a much briefer proposal. In response, the company literally threw out its overreaching and overly broad language in its initial proposal and countered with a much slimmer version.
It took company negotiators weeks to come up with their latest proposal which they presented during the most recent bargaining session last week. Obviously crafted by a crackerjack team of corporate lawyers, it contains language right out of what many would consider a standard management rights’ clause in a 1950s contract. The proposal, if accepted, would give the company ownership over anything any staff member created on their own time. If a staffer wrote a book, painted a picture, or pursued any other creative venture the company would have ownership.
The Guild countered by crossing out the language and reducing it to a simple phrase which stated that the company owned only the work product created by staffers while on the job.
Company negotiators owe the Guild a response on this counter proposal. Currently the timing of a response is unknown since no future bargaining dates have been scheduled. Representatives said they were bargaining with the pressmen this week.
The negotiating teams continued discussions on outsourcing language. The Guild is working diligently to achieve better seniority language than what the Company accomplished through its imposed terms and conditions. Union negotiators also are examining other ways to improve protections once the arbitration process is reinstated with a new contract agreement.
There were hang ups on how to let members of the Guild bargaining unit know when jobs are open so anyone can submit an application. Company representatives said that the jobs are posted through the Hearst Co. website but admitted not all of them are, including job openings in Albany. The Guild wants people to continue to have a local opportunity to seek a new job at the Times Union and apply if they are interested.
The 101-member Newspaper Guild of Pittsburgh walked out Tuesday at high noon on strike against the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
The Pittsburgh Guild joins a fellow CWA local and a Teamsters local on the picket lines in the unfair labor practice strike.
Our international TNG-CWA called an emergency ZOOM meeting of Guild local presidents, staff and other officials to provide information about the strike.
The Newspaper Guild of Pittsburgh and TNG-CWA are deep into dealing with the picket line and other strike-related matters. TNG-CWA is working on establishing ways to provide support to our fellow Guild members while they are on strike.
As soon as we know more about providing support we will let everyone know.
For information about what’s going on in Pittsburgh, visit the Pittsburgh Guild’s website.
Bargaining Bulletin #10:
The Albany Newspaper Guild presented its comprehensive economic proposal to the Times Union on Wednesday as talks continue for a new contract.
The Guild negotiating team pointed out that inflation is currently 42.84 percent, a significant increase since our last contractual raise in 2007. The Guild also provided management negotiators with current reports from the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics which indicated that the average weekly salary in Albany County is $1,503. Our key pay category (Class C in the contract), at a weekly pay rate of $998.48, is about 66 percent of the County’s average.
Our union proposed a five-year contract, bonuses and pay raises. We are seeking pension and 401K improvements. We also proposed that each unit member receive two cases of Hearst premium vintage wine.
We added a new contract section proposing an annual Cost of Living Adjustment if inflation exceeds 4 percent. This would be in addition to the negotiated pay increases.
We also proposed a formula of one exempt manager for every five Guild-represented employees.
We anticipated the company bargaining team would respond to our proposals on outsourcing and management rights made a week earlier. The company management team didn’t have any counter proposals for these major contract topics they had previously indicated were important to them. Their team said their response to our management rights proposal had not been completed.
Bargaining will resume Nov. 2 and 3.