Thursday, June 28, 2007

The Next Step

We cleared a major hurdle in our quest for a fair contract with the "Certification Decision" from The N.L.R.B. 10 days ago. Marty and I have been in constant communication since the decision and have been informed by President Tedeschi that Mike Huggins will be our Representative in Collective Bargaining. I have provided Mike with the names, phone numbers and e-mail addresses of all the Negotiation Committee members so that he can communicate with each of us directly.

Mike will be meeting with our elected Negotiation Committee Members on July 15th to begin contract negotiation skills training for the committee members and contract proposal preparation utilizing the information obtained from the completed surveys that have been returned.

This will begin the next step to prepare a fair contract proposal for the committee members to present in Collective Bargaining. That is why it is so important that everyone participate in this process. You now have the ability to make your voice heard, don't ignore this opportunity to speak up.

Now that a decision has been reached and The GCC/IBT has been Certified as our Representatives in Collective Bargaining, I am looking forward to receiving our "Charter" from President Tedeschi, which will officially create our own new "Local" here for all Times employees.

This is an exciting aspect of our victory because we will be creating our own local and have a great opportunity to grow by organizing our fellow employees in departments other than the pressroom.

Many of them are standing by waiting to see what we will accomplish and there are others who are interested in organizing their departments now. We need to identify the leaders who are willing to make a commitment to help their fellow workers and improve their working conditions. We will provide them with all the information they need and arrange for them to meet with our Organizers.

Our Attorney Ira Gottlieb informed me last week that he filed unfair labor practice charges against the company based on information that was presented to him in our recent meetings. The N.L.R.B. was informed of changes in the expectations of our operators and how they oversee their crews. Several Operators at the meeting stated that they received negative reviews on their evaluations in this area.

The other charge is related to the company's decision to eliminate our "meal ticket" incentive.

That is all I have for now, I will keep you all informed of events as they come to my attention. If anyone has any questions or would like more detailed information on any of these subjects, feel free to contact me any time. I have to be cautious when posting on our blog because it is frequently visited by management in L.A. and Chicago.

Moving Forward Together!

Monday, June 18, 2007

N.L.R.B. Decision

The N.L.R.B. officially announced their decision to deny the Company's request for a review of our election victory and "certified" our election results.

We now look forward to meeting with our GCC/IBT Negotiator and Attorneys to receive negotiation skills training and for preparation of our contract proposal.

If you happen to still be in possesion of your survey, you need to return it to have your voice included in the contract proposal. If you did not receive one and need a copy contact me here at admin@saveourtrade.com and we will get one to you quickly.

A safe and fair work environment is what we seek and look forward to working with management to obtain and to arrive at a fair and amicable collective bargaining agreement.

Congratulations to everyone!
In solidarity!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Management, abide by the law in L.A. Pressroom!

FOR THE RECORD

We won the right to be represented by the GCC/IBT in January. When the results of the vote were read, our pressrooms became protected from any changes until collective bargaining.

Simply put, our pressroom are suppose to be a snapshot of what they were on January 6th. Since then, unfair labor practice charges have been filed against the company and a couple of proposed changes were never implemented. The N.L.R.B. warned the company that they would prosecute if any more attempts to change our working environment were put into effect. You should have all received Ira's letter stating all the facts pertaining to ULP's that were filed on our behalf with The N.L.R.B.
Ira's letter clearly highlighted all the facts that were absent from managements posting on the same subject.

RECENT MEETINGS

Recent meetings yielded plenty of information for our Attorney Ira Gottlieb and Organizer Marty Keegan to understand what management is attempting to do in our shops, and also identify witnesses to bring certain current issues to the Union's attention, as well as The N.L.R.B.

EVALUATIONS

I have been told by many of our brothers and sisters that they are receiving less than favorable evaluations this time around. Certain individuals claim they are being evaluated unfairly and inaccurately. I've always been leary of this process because they seem to paint a different picture of how we perceive ourselves on the job.

LUNCH BREAKS

Lunches are being limited to 35 minutes no matter when you finish lining up your press, when past practices were that you return at a pre-determined time enabling the crews to return and plate up with ample time to do so prior to receiving a plate starter.

STARTING EARLY

There are still certain individuals who volunteer their time prior to their start time making roll changes and doing catwalk work with managements awareness. This practice is against company guidelines and is regularly overlooked by management for the benefit of lining up and starting the press as quickly as possible.
Should any of these individuals get injured while performing this bad practice, the company is not going to assume liability and I'm sure the individual will be reprimanded as well. This has got to cease before any injuries actually occur.

OPERATOR, NOT SUPERVISOR

Operators reported that they are being held accountable for their crews at heightened levels and stated that they are being evaluated negatively if they are not overseeing their crews according to managements new unannounced expectations.

MEAL TICKET INCENTIVE

We used to be rewarded for going the extra mile by being given a meal ticket. This form of recognition was abolished as a result of our victory as well.

IN CONCLUSION

Management knows that these actions are in violation of the N.L.R.A. which protects our newly won rights, yet they don't hesitate to punish us workers for exercising our legally protected right to vote for Union Representation.
These issues as well as a few others are and will be addressed by The Union and The N.L.R.B.

Until then, we must be diligent and not allow management to lure us into being insubordinate. You must do what is being asked of you. If you believe that you are being asked to do something unsafe, then you have the right to challenge any order that would endanger you or a fellow pressperson. All other instructions that are not consistant with past practices needs to be brought to the attention of The Teamsters so that an investigation can determine the facts, and the appropriate action to take.

Report any changes or unfair treatment here by e-mailing me at admin@saveourtrade.com
and your information will be forwarded to Marty and Ira to investigate.

In Solidarity!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Politically Speaking.......

Durbin seeks prompt FCC action regarding Tribune Co. sale

By DENNIS CONRAD
Associated Press Writer



WASHINGTON | Senate Democratic leaders met Tuesday with Tribune Co. officials and its prospective buyer over concerns that federal regulators have not issued a decision regarding the company's ownership of different media in the same markets.

Chicago real estate billionaire Sam Zell, who wants to take Tribune private in an $8.2 billion deal, described the meeting as "wonderful" after leaving the Capitol office of Sen. Dick Durbin, Illinois' highest ranking member of Congress.

Zell declined to detail Tuesday's discussions, but said it was "very important" to secure regulatory waivers from the Federal Communications Commission. Tribune Chairman and CEO Dennis FitzSimons and other company officials did not comment as they left the Capitol.
Tribune has requested waivers from rules banning same-market ownership of television and newspapers.

The Chicago-based company, which owns 11 daily newspapers and 23 TV stations, has temporary waivers to operate broadcast and newspaper outlets in the same cities despite the ban. With a sale, it no longer would have a grandfathered exemption from cross-ownership rules in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Hartford, Conn., and Fort Lauderdale-Miami.

Nearly a month ago, Durbin wrote a joint letter with Rep. Rahm Emanuel, D-Chicago, that urged the FCC to make prompt decisions regarding the sale. It was signed by most members of Illinois' congressional delegation.

"There's a lot at stake here n 20,000 employees, their future, is on the line," Durbin, the Senate's majority whip and second-highest ranking Democrat, said Tuesday, complaining that there has been no FCC response to the delegation's letter.

FCC spokesman David Fiske said an agency response should go out soon.

"We always appreciate input (from lawmakers)," he said.

Meantime, the Teamsters Union filed comments that called on the FCC to make sure local and diverse views are protected before approving any waivers.

"Including a voice for employee owners is necessary to tie the interests of the company to the local communities it serves," said James P. Hoffa, general president of the union that represents about 2,000 Tribune employees.

A phone message seeking comment from a Tribune spokesman was not immediately returned Tuesday.

Critics of the $8.2 billion deal have argued that the media conglomerate should be broken up to avoid the cross-ownership that now exists in the five cities. A public interest law firm, Media Access Project, has urged federal regulators to deny Tribune's request for waivers.

Durbin said he, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada and the Senate Democrats' caucus vice chairman, Sen. Charles Schumer of New York, agree the FCC should rule promptly, but without lawmakers pushing one side.

"This has been an issue that's been debated for 10 years or more, and the FCC ultimately will have to resolve it," he said of cross-ownership.

Durbin said in more than 20 years in Illinois politics, he has seen no problems arising from cross-ownership in Chicago, where the Tribune owns the Chicago Tribune, WGN radio and TV stations.

"I don't find any monopoly power being pushed into the market, and I think most people in the market feel ... that they're really good sources of news," he said.

"The world of media is changing with the Internet, the diminished role of newspapers, with the proliferation of television stations, cable and network," he added. "We have to take care that we don't judge today's market with yesterday's standards."

Durbin said whatever he and other Democratic leaders do it is going to be done in strict compliance with FCC rules and in the open, with no "back-channel efforts."

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Tribune buyer lobbies for cross-ownership waivers


Chicago financier Sam Zell made the rounds on Capitol Hill this week, drumming up support for a buyout of Tribune Co. in an effort to pressure federal regulators to grant waivers necessary to own both newspapers and TV stations in Los Angeles and four other cities.
The lobbying trip came as the public comment period for Tribune's waiver requests ended Monday. The requests have drawn opposition from several groups, including the United Church of Christ, the Consumer Federation of America and the Teamsters, which represents about 2,000 company workers.
Full Story

Friday, June 08, 2007

Independence Still the Issue at Dow Jones

In 1981, Rupert Murdoch and a division of his News Corporation made extraordinary promises about not meddling in the news pages of The Times of London and The Sunday Times, which they were about to take over. But in short order, no one doubted who was firmly in control of the newsrooms. Read the full story

Monday, June 04, 2007

Letter from a Union Brother

This is a letter I received from Jim Yonkers, he is a pressman in a union newspaper in Florida own by the Tribune Co.:

Albaro,
What has gone on in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. pressroom before I arrived here, and hence, since I've been here should be living proof to your co-workers to insist on a fair, reasonable and equitable labor contract for all involved...
First of all, it is important to point out to your fellow press persons that nobody is coming in from out of town to run the "union". They are the UNION! They will be the members, they will be the elected leaders...and I do stress elected ...
Did you, did they ever wonder in their careers how the heck did a particular person or persons ever get appointed to a management position? Believe me its important to note that when somebody in the capacity of a Union Chairman or assistant chairman or for that matter, the whole Board of Union Officers goes into the supervisors office to file a grievance or try their best to settle a minor or major dispute, those officers were elected and trusted by the members to uphold justice and voice their (the members) concerns...
Almost everyone in their careers, at some point, gets a boss who delights in the torture, humiliation and harassment of underlings.
But few workers have the financial resources, money, necessary to go to court, lay bare the dirty laundry and demand payback for treatment they consider abusive.
Without a written Union Contract and grievance procedure and process, they are all alone. With a written employment contract granting them protection from random firings and layoffs, they are in a safer workplace environment.

Fraternally, I am,
Jim Yonkers
Stay Safe

Friday, June 01, 2007

Los Angeles Times Pressmens 20 Year Club: Take Back the Times: FitzSimons, Hiller: From One Stupidity To Another

Los Angeles Times Pressmens 20 Year Club: Take Back the Times: FitzSimons, Hiller: From One Stupidity To Another

Upcoming Meetings

Just a reminder for everyone to attend one of the upcoming meetings. All of you should have received a letter from GCC/IBT Attorney Ira Gottlieb informing you of current N.L.R.B. related issues. Ira gives alot more information on those issues than the memo that was posted by management. You should have also received a questionaire for our attorney with the meeting information at the bottom . If you have not mailed it back using the self addressed, stamped envelope, then bring it with you to the meeting, and have Attorney Ira (Buddy) Gottlieb and Organizer Marty Keegan answer your all of your questions, and address all of your concerns.

The meetings are at the usual locations. In O.C. the meeting will be Monday June 4th, 11:00 am at The Round Table Pizza in Fountain Valley. 11095 Warner Ave. (Map)

The Meeting for Los Angeles will be held at Shakey's Pizza, 2023 Cesar Chavez Ave In East Los Angeles on Tuesday, June 5th at 11:00 am (map)

I have heard again that meetings are being held with employees in departments other than the pressroom and that they are being encouraged to rebuke the Union. I am challenging each and everyone of you to bring someone from another department so they can hear the truth from the other side. Step up, and don't come alone.

I know that meetings are best on Thurdays and Fridays, simply because the majority of us work those days. These particular meetings were scheduled to coincide with Buddy's schedule and these were days that he would be available for back to back meeting dates.

These meetings are important and we try to make arrangements to accommodate times and places that are convenient to everyone, if it is not, I apologize.

See you all then and there!
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