Our two days of meetings with the company last week focused primarily on the issue of sharing work between Guild members and unaffiliated online staff. The company brought forward several new proposals aimed at changing our existing agreements, which currently do not permit the Guild to have jurisdiction over online work, but also do not allow unaffiliated staff to perform Guild print-related work. The company wants to keep the restrictions on the Guild in place, but change the second part, and permit unaffiliated staff to do a certain amount of Guild work in both the news and advertising and marketing departments. The previous proposals from the company in this area were very sweeping, and would essentially have provided the company with a blank check in terms of re-assigning work at will. The new proposals were encouraging because they represented a significant narrowing of the company’s demands. They were more carefully focused on different areas of work, and contained some specific limitations that would be helpful in protecting individual jobs and ensuring the access of Guild members to specific kinds of work.
We are not sure yet if these proposals, either individually or collectively, will represent a path to a mutually beneficial agreement with the company. Some parts of the proposals are definitely good. Others will need quite a bit more work. The Guild team will be looking at these proposals very carefully to see what will work and what won’t, and where we can possibly build on and improve them. One area of particular concern is the amount of content unaffiliated online staff might be able to contribute to the print edition of the paper, which still appears to be excessive under the company proposal.
Present for the Guild: Ralph Erickson, Karl Neice, Phil Kearney, Darryl Sclater, Darren Carroll.
Present for the Times: Mike Shepard, Martin Hammond, Valerie Inforzato, Leon Espinoza, Mike Sheehan, Rob Petersen.
The Guild's next meeting with the company will be Tuesday, April 9.
If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please email Administrative Officer Darryl Sclater at firstname.lastname@example.org, call the Guild office at 206-328-1190, or contact one of the Guild bargaining committee members.