Fools Rush In
I remember around October of 2006 when some of us in the pressroom found out that we had a little over 50% of the pledge cards turned in, that the clamor had already begun, when are we going to file for an election? After all that’s the way we’ve done it in the past. By this time I had attended numerous meetings with Marty Keegan and I knew that the union would not file our petition for representation unless we had 70% of the bargaining unit on board. Had we filed with just 50+1% we would have lost big again.
Some may say that a win by 9 votes doesn’t mean much, but none the less, it is a victory. The night before the election Organizer Marty Keegan and I spoke about the outcome of the vote and we had already come to the conclusion that we could win the election even if we lost 27 to 30 yes votes at the polls. This was possible because Marty Keegan, George Perez, plus volunteers from other locals across the country did the leg work for us. I’m not forgetting all our committee members at our two shops either.
Why did we lose so many potential yes votes? In part it was because two weeks before the election, management broke the rules and the law. They spoke with employees one on one on the floor in a effort to sway their votes. Those of you that spoke with management during this period know that I’m telling the truth. Also, some fellow employees filled out an authorization card but never intended to vote for the union. For this reason 70% is required and most unions will not file for an election without that high of a percentage.
When the company filed objections with NLRB we knew this was going to cause a delay and understood that this was a calculated response and we expected it, as well as the exceptions filed with the Washington N.L.R.B. We would have done the same and filed numerous unfair labor practice charges against the company had we lost by 9 votes. These types of actions cause delays in the process of reaching contract negotiations and that is the only reason the company filed objections with the Regional N.L.R.B. and now Washington to begin with.
We have a long road ahead of us and it’s important that we have patience. It is equally important that we explore every possible way to reach a contract that’s good for the employees and good for our newspaper. This process is going to take time. There is still a small group of employees who wish to campaign against the union, and I say its time wasted. Since Jan. 6th. 2007 we have moved on and can’t keep on addressing things that do not matter at this point. Rumors are just unverified reports and mis-information that cloud the facts.
It’s has also been brought to my attention that our pressroom manager has made some demands of press operators, press crews, and reel room coordinators, and not to mention our service shops, whereas in making these demands he continually uses poor judgment in the way he speaks with employees. Please do not be insubordinate and just do what he asks, we will deal with these issues at an appropriate time. His career has been plagued with big mistakes not only at the Times but at other newspapers.
I hope all of the contract surveys have been returned by now. If you never received one, contact a negotiations team member and we will get one to you as soon as possible.
Please have patience not only with the process, but with each other. I don’t think anyone would want our contract to have any mistakes in it. Lets move on, but lets not rush in.