Most of you should have received our recent mailing highlighting our current status. I personally reviewed all current mailing information provided by the company and revised our database, so if anyone fails to receive it, it is because they do not have current information on file with the company or the union.
We do have confirmed negotiation dates beginning in November and are prepared to negotiate in good faith for our members. The committee members are aware of the contract draft contents and can dispell any rumors that may surface regarding it's contents. As stated in the letter, this can take some time, so patience and solidarity are priority number one.
Our major concern at this time is Johnny Walkers treatment of pressroom employees in Los Angeles. One of our main concerns, and probably the most serious is that it appears our African American Community in the pressroom are predominantly in his crosshairs and have been subjected to his disrepectful treatment and diciplinary targeting. This is a very disturbing fact and this fact will be further investigated by our attorneys. I am attempting to schedule a meeting with some of our members and The NAACP to get their impression of these obvious statistics and solicit their support in bringing this to managements attention.
Everyone should be conscious of the threat Walker poses and remain diligent by doing everything by the book, remain in control and follow orders. It's obvious that you are all being baited into becoming insubordinate. Any reason to write you up, deny you a raise and ultimately termination, as we have just witnessed. Buy-outs cost money, terminations don't. They are looking for safety violations, so as I said, be diligent, take a safe, load with a partner and always be aware of who is in your immediate area. Watch out for one another, do not run to the office to report a fellow pressperson. We have all been under different levels of pressure in the shop, but there is no reason to hold eachother accountable when we all know that it was none of us who made the decisions that have brought us to the point our pressroom in L.A is today. All of the calls I have received complaining about being treated in an insulting, disrepectful manner and unfairly disiplined, have only come from Los Angeles pressroom members.
I have spoke to Russ Newton about these concerns and the numerous calls I have received about Walkers treatment towards pressroom employees and he said that he has not been informed by anyone about their specific issues concerning Walker. I did mention that none of us have felt that we can go to Management and/or Human Resources and receive a fair and impartial resolution for a long, long time, not to mention the fear of retaliation. Russ went on to say that he encourages pressroom employees to speak to him personally and he will investigate any concerns we present to him. He also went on to say that any retaliation against an employee who seeks his assistance will not be tolerated and the retaliator would be terminated.
So I encourage all of you who have been subjected to Walker's alledged intimidation, harassment and disrepectful treatment to accept Russ' invitation and provide him with the information he needs to do his part to return the L.A. pressroom to a hostile free enviroment. Our company handbook says that the company promises to provide us with a work environment free of discrimination, harassment and hostility, so it's up to all of you in L.A. to provide Russ with proof of mistreatment, so visit Russ soon and be sure to provide him with all the facts, including witnesses and we will provide the same to our attorneys in an effort to resolve our members concerns as quickly as possible.
I most recently was informed by two seperate individuals on Sunday and Monday nights in which their respective crews were forced to work through their lunch and were not given the option to go eat or accept compensation for working through their lunch. This is in violation of State Labor Laws requiring employers to allow employees a lunch period of 1/2 hour within 5 hours of the start of their shift. These violations have been brought to our attorney's attention as well and proper actions will be taken in this matter. Operator Keith Denson informed me that on Monday night he notified Supervisor Tony Specht of his desire to take lunch and that it is against the law to force him to work through his lunch which was met with Tony's arrogant response "be sure to spell my name right". Was that necessary? We will be sure to spell it right as he requested when we notify the State of this violation.
Why does pressroom supervision think that they have a right to be disprepectful when addressing pressroom employees in Los Angeles? Why do they so easily forget where they came from and how upset they were when they felt supervision was disrepectful towards them. How easily they forget. Alot of you were never living up to the expectations you place on us now!
It is totally obvious that Los Angeles is being punished for the fact that we now have Union Representation and Walker has no desire to give up any control over the pressroom when the fact of the matter is, he is completely out of control and is a danger to a diverse work force such as ours. Discrimination, harassment and hostility contradict all the values inscribed on the sign at the entrance of the Olympic plant entrance. Walker and Specht should stop and read it some time.