Monday, January 21, 2008

YOU NEED TO KNOW, SO HERE WE GO!

My brothers and sisters in the pressroom, here is where we are currently.

UNFAIR LABOR PRACTICES

Teamster Representative Mike Huggins, our Attorney, Adam Stern and myself have been diligently addressing several "Unfair Labor Practice" charges with the NLRB and are preparing to file additional charges for imposing the Smoker and Spousal Fees on our bargaining unit members who smoke and/or have coverage for their spouse when coverage is available through the spouse's employer. Those Fees are benefits changes and are subject to collective bargaining, and we did not negotiate these fees, or agree to them. As has been said numerous times before, nothing can be changed, or taken away without negotiations and agreement by both the committee and the company. Our sister papers such as Newsday and The Baltimore Sun are also Teamster represented and have filed ULP's as well challenging these ridiculous fees.

We filed charges for unilateral changes to our working conditions when In Los Angeles our brothers and sisters were instructed to wash blankets twice during their shift when the previous crew is relieved or unable to wash at the end of their run and again at the end of their respective run. Never have we been required to wash twice per shift. This was done, we believe to punish the bargaining unit for voting for representation, and NOT a quality issue as management states.

This has caused missed lunches and also violates the settlement agreement in which the company stated "We will continue to allow employees to leave early when the work we assign them is completed" That does not mean they can change the work they assign us either!

A charge was filed for having crews change over and stand-by for absolutely no valid reason other than to prevent employees from "leaving early" This unilateral change could only be viewed as punishment as well for the same reason stated earlier and also violates the settlement agreement in the same fashion. We all know that there are occassions when this practice is warranted and it was absent in these times.

We filed another charge for Seniority issues where individuals seniority is ignored when being assigned to a crew or when filling a vacant spot on a crew.

Sworn Affifidavits were provided to the NLRB on these ULP's and we await their decision. We will keep you posted as these charges go forward.

INCIDENT REPORTS

The Negotiation Committee Members have received numerous calls and complaints about questionable decisions and actions by management and immediate supervision seeking assistance and resolution. I have personally received many of those calls and have taken them to the negotiation table in attempts of immediate resolution. The Committee has spent a considerable amount of time at the table addressing these matters and wish to address them in house instead . This will allow us to negotiate a contract as opposed to addressing individual situations. To do this, we are asking that the "Incident Report" we created be used to document concerns that may be considered unfair labor practices or unfair treatment by management. The incident reports can be found at http://www.saveourtrade.com/ under links and resources or by clicking here on INCIDENT REPORT. Return completed reports to any of the negotiation committee members.


SIGN IN SHEET DISCLAIMER

"I confirm with my signature on this time document that the time reported is accurate and depicts actual time I worked each day".

This disclaimer appeared on our sign in sheets approximately one month ago. We were not notified as to the addition of this disclaimer or the reason it was added. It's language is very concerning because it legally binds you by signing in for work. It also opens the door to have management sign us out at the end of our runs and we, with our signature are bound by those times. I immediately informed Mike Huggins and our Attorney Adam Stern about this disclaimer and we filed an unfair labor practice charge on this issue. It is my understanding that the company's Attorneys have contacted the NLRB and are proposing a settlement in this matter. The only settlement that will be acceptable is to remove the disclaimer from our payroll sign in sheets. We will keep you informed on this as it progresses.


RETIREMENT/ STATUS QUO

Many were wondering what was going to happen to our Retirement Plan now that the Tribune 401 K Retirement Plan converted to a "Cash Balance Plan" and we are now supposedly
co-owners in the ESOP. We asked those questions at the negotiation table, and as we stated, everything is to remain the same, including our retirement. We are still receiving retirement benefits under the Tribune 401k and you may continue to contribute into this plan if you wish. The discount Tribune stock is obviously no longer available for purchase and is being paid out to those who purchased and owned that stock by CompuShare.

We are not currently participants in the "New" ESOP and will address the ESOP when we negotiate our retirement benefits.

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