Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Negotiation Update #9

As many of you are aware by way of Russ Newton's Updates, we were informed of the company's desire to cut 1.8 million dollars from the pressrooms budgets.

The timing of announcement is very questionable because of our current negotiations.
In San Diego at the Union Tribune, management there is going forward with changes they proposed in their pressroom and mailroom without further negotiations. They intend on implementing those changes at approximately the same time The Times representatives indicated they intend on going forward with cost saving measures they have drawn up for our pressrooms. It curiously appears that our management and management in San Diego are in collusion, possibly in attempts of weaking the bargaining process in both locations.

Management asked the negotiation committee to participate in what is referred to as "decisional bargaining" which allows us to essentially offer suggestions and or proposals to help them arrive at 1.8 million in savings from our shops. Lead Counsel for the company, Tim Fair stated that by law they are not obligated to engage in decisional bargaining.

Participating in this process would give the misconception that we are responsible for the cuts and not the company, which is possibly the reason for their decision to do so.

Decisional bargaining puts the onus of these cuts on us and we are approaching the decisional bargaining process cautiously. We attempted to have the company's representatives disclose what plans they have should we not offer any suggestions on where they can achieve these sought after savings, to which elusiveness was all we could obtain in their answers.

Before we attempt to assist management in making these cuts, we requested information pertaining to pressroom budgets for the last 3 years as well as overtime paid to bargaining unit employees during those same periods. We are also seeking information regarding savings earned by the company as a result of previous pressroom buyouts. We have also asked for information pertaining to cuts and dollar amounts sought in departments other than the pressroom as well as a total amount sought throughout the company.

With the requested information, we will be able to determine exactly what our options are and how to approach this latest attack on our pressrooms.

International President George Tedeschi as well as our attorney Adam Stern have been informed of this situation and they are evaluating our options and will, along with our Representative Mike Huggins, guide us through another attempt by management to save the company by cutting the heads off the people who actually produce the final byproduct of our company, the newspaper itself.

We would love to hear any suggestions on how the company can reach the savings they seek from our department. Keep in mind, they do visit this site regularly and I'm sure they'd love to see them also.

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