Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Tribune Tobacco Use Fee Rescinded

From: Tribune Communications
Sent: Tuesday, April 22, 2008 1:32 PM
Subject: Message from Gerry Spector/Tobacco Use Fee Rescinded

Since the closing of the going-private transaction last December, we’ve been reviewing policies and practices across the company, including Tribune’s healthcare benefits. While well-intentioned, we think the tobacco-use fee implemented by the previous management team is inconsistent with the new culture we’re developing---we’d rather you use your own judgment when it comes to tobacco use, not impose ours upon you.

This policy was a part of open enrollment last fall and took effect January 1, 2008. I’m pleased to tell you that we’re eliminating this fee effective April 28th.

If you successfully participated in the smoking cessation program, have quit and been reimbursed for all fees, then congratulations are in order. Quitting is one of the hardest things you’ll ever do.

If you’re still being charged the fee, it will stop and Tribune will reimburse you 100 percent for the fees you have paid. This reimbursement will occur in late May.

Tribune will continue to offer the smoking cessation program free of charge to all employees and their covered dependents age 18 and older.

The spousal medical fee, implemented at the same time, will remain in place. We believe that if an employee’s spouse has access to coverage through his/her employer, that employer has the primary responsibility to bear the cost of coverage. Our obligation is to take care of our own employees, first and foremost.

If you have questions about the tobacco use fee, contact the Tribune Benefits Service Center at 800/872-2222.



(Source: Ed Padgett's 20 year club website)

Monday, April 21, 2008

Recent Negotiations

I apologize for having not posted any information from the recent negotiations. I have spent the last few days restoring my computer once again. I apparently picked up a virus while at the negotiations location. Their server must have been spreading this virus without their knowledge.

We met on Wednesday April 16Th and 17Th for negotiations and they, in my opinion, went well. International Representative Sonny Shannon re-joined the team and did an excellent job at the table representing our interests. Attorney Dave Meyers was also present representing the Union and also did an exemplary job presenting our proposals to the company.

We did exchange several proposals and counter proposals regarding Seniority, and another proposal regarding Arbitration. We did get alot closer to language we can both agree to. We will resume negotiations on April 30Th and May 1st with several more days in May.

Patience is our greatest asset at this point. We have to keep our eye on the prize, which is a Collective Bargaining Agreement" We all have to understand that this can and will take time. The company is obiously in no hurry to give us one and hopes that we will abandon the fight. That will not happen as long as we remain diligent in our efforts and build solidarity.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Go ask the Union.

It's been over a month since I've been able to post any information for various reasons, mostly time. I have been approached for numerous reasons and was told that management redirected them to the Union and in O.C. to me by name.

I have been told that supervision is merely following instructions. Those issues that have been brought to our attention have consumed the majority of the time I have spent since the hiatus at the bargaining table.

That's not to say that we have not discussed them with management. On our last negotiation session we agreed to address the seniority list and work with Russ to resolve any and all concerns regarding one's seniority numbers and placement on the list. On Tuesday April 8Th, Keith Denson and I met with Russ and Monica Hayes to present the names of individuals and their specific issues regarding the list and their seniority numbers.

There was a lot of names and Russ stated that he will look closely at the information we presented and hopes to have some information when we return to negotiations on the 16Th. Monica took notes and obtained a thorough explanation regarding each individuals concerns.

The list that we presented to management at the table was still error filled and I believe it may have been more erroneous than the original. In good conscience we could not go forward with that list because it would have resulted in more individuals out of order than previously. That is why we asked management to return to last years pick order until we can once and for all create a seniority list that we can all agree to. Tuesdays meeting was very productive at which time Keith and I addressed several other issues that were brought to our attention in which Russ looked into and corrected some of them as well. Not all of the concerns we sought to discuss could be raised in this meeting but instead will be raised when negotiations resume. Some issues have been resolved, and some couldn't be at this time, so status quo is recommended until an agreement or understanding otherwise.

The Buy-outs and the negotiations surrounding them were very painful and I personally detest these times. I have, along with all of you witnessed the exodus of employees from our company on many occasions and it doesn't get any easier with time. We are losing hundred of years of experience once again and relationships that will end indefinitely, that's always been the most difficult part for me personally. I do remain in contact with friends that I have met here and have since been long departed from our shops. I value those lasting friendships and I hope many of you will remain in touch with one another.

We will be back to negotiations on April 16 and 17Th, with more dates at the end of the month.
Mike Huggins is recovering from his surgery and I have sent best wishes from all of us. He is doing fine and hopes to rejoin the negotiations as quickly as possible. In his absence the International has asked International Representative Sonny Shannon to fill the void.
Sonny was originally assigned to our negotiations but fell ill himself and has since recovered and looks forward to rejoining the team.

The last thing I need to express is patience. I know that there have been situations and decisions that have been very frustrating lately but that is to be expected. That doesn't mean that they aren't being addressed, they all are. One thing I don't do is minimize any one's concerns because if it is important to you, then it is important to all of us.

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