Thursday, October 30, 2008

Rumor Control and Negotiation Update

It was no shock to me that we lost some of our supervisors this past week. It is always terrible for anyone to lose their job, its worse just before the holidays. We have witnessed the exodus of our friends and co-workers for years now and it is always heart wrenching for most of us. As salary employees, there is no obligation for management to honor supervisors seniority in their respective position. Why the supervisors that were relieved of their post were chosen, can only be answered by those who made the decision as to who they considered expendable. Some will be missed by some, and some will be missed by all. Either way, they will be missed. I will personally miss Misty Griffin for the fact that she was always honest, fair and treated everyone with respect.

O.C. RUMOR: There have been many questions regarding the possibility of the pending Joint Operating Agreement between The Orange County Register and The Times that was reported in The Orange County Business Journal (Click for story). One main concern I have been hearing is that Pressmen from The Register will come and run their own product on our presses. We have not been given any indication from management that they are considering anything like that. I don't see how that would be a profitable venture for the company to "rent" our presses and that is essentially what something like that would be. Language we have already agreed to prevents management from hiring part-time employees to sub plant the full time workforce. All the details regarding part-time employees will be presented at the upcoming ratification meetings.

L.A. RUMOR: There are going to be more buy-outs and we are going to lose 4 crews.
Management did not state that they intend to reduce staffing at this time and it was not mentioned at the table.

Today we gave management our wage and benefit proposals and spent time discussing the new benefit package offered by management and our desire to explore coverage through either the Teamsters, the GCC or the company sponsored health care program. We also proposed a "medical opt-out program" in which the company is being asked to give a fraction of the projected per employee company medical cost back to the employee(s) wishing to opt-out of the company medical benefit. This type of reimbursement is becoming very common for companies looking to reduce their benefit overhead by allowing employees to opt-out of their company coverage. This program has saved large, self insured companies such as ours millions of dollars and it also gives the employee and their family more flexibility in medical coverage options.

The wages, benefit and pension proposals were submitted as a package proposal and it included our proposed term of the contract, a signing bonus, sick days and several other topics. The proposals are, we believe to be fair, but we are sure that the company's counter proposal will reflect managements desire to control costs. We on the committee are not ignorant to the state of our industry and the effect the economy is having on our company and are bargaining with those factors in mind. We are extremely aware of how the economy has effected each of our households as well and bargain with that in mind even more so.

We are attempting to have management redirect their retirement contributions to each employee for the purpose of reinvesting it into the Interlocal Pension Fund. For more information on the Interlocal Pension Fund (click here) There is no other plan like this and we will be able to contribute an additional pecentage above the negotiated amount contributed by the company.

With all of that said, I must remind all of you that no matter what we on the negotiating committee and our representatives agree to at the table, all bargaining unit employees will have the final word by voting on the tentative agreements reached in negotiations. If there are areas that are not acceptable to a majority of those who vote, then the committee will go back to the table and attempt to renegotiate the unsatisfactory terms. It is extremely important that everyone vote because ratification is based on a majority of those who cast a vote. Don't let only those who vote decide for you whether or not we ratify these tentative agreements.

Negotiations resume on November 6th at which time we will receive the company's counter proposal.

In Solidarity!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Where can we find out what wage increases are being proposed by our side?

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