Friday, November 21, 2008

Almost There! Negotiations Complete.

Negotiations have concluded and an over all Tentative Agreement was reached. We are scheduling a Ratification Meeting (DATE AND TIME TO BE ANNOUNCED) in Commerce at the Commerce Casino Crown Plaza Hotel where negotiations have been held. Meeting room and meeting time information will be made available and posted in the shops and here within the next couple of days.

This will take place within the next couple of weeks so it is imperative that everyone makes the necessary arrangements to insure their attendance at this important meeting.

Everyone should know by now that only those bargaining unit brothers and sisters that attend the ratification meeting may vote on the Overall Tentative Agreement (contract) as there is no such thing as an absentee ballot voting system in union contract ratification votes. That means that a majority of ONLY those that vote will determine whether or not the contract will be ratified.

I cannot stress the importance of attending this meeting and hope that everyone possible takes this opportunity to exercise their democratic right that we have only experienced here at The Times during organizing campaigns.

All of the details of the tentative agreements will be disclosed at the ratification meeting and The International and our Representatives have asked that we refrain from presenting the information at this time. It has been their experience that by the time the ratification meetings take place, a lot of misinformation and misinterpretations flourish among the bargaining unit spreading through the shops and fails to give an accurate depiction of the actual agreements. The bargaining committee agrees and asks for your patience once again. This will guarantee everyone the facts and prevent unnecessary rumors which we all know exist and have had to disseminate throughout this process. Please respect the International's request and allow the negotiation committee to fulfill this request by with holding any and all questions until the ratification meeting. Thank you in advance for your understanding.

The Negotiating Committee appreciates all the support and patience we have received from our Brothers and Sisters in both shops and thank all of you for the honor of representing our Los Angeles Times Pressroom Bargaining Unit in these historic Collective Bargaining Agreement Negotiations.

In Solidarity,
Brother Ronnie

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Like showing off a new baby we should at least get a peak of our contract now, perhaps an overview on number of years, raises, medical options, retirement. Withholding all of this information until the ratification meeting makes one wonder if the intent is to stifle debate about the contract and its terms?

Ronnie Pineda said...

There is no intent to stifle debate about the contract. The information I was sharing with our brothers and sisters in O.C. was that we went the distance in obtaining everything the company had to give by showing solidarity at the table and would not accept any less than what was referred to by the company as it's "best offer" Brother Denson asked if it was their "last and final" and company Attorney Tim Fair stated "yes"

I will ask our Representatives if I can provide an overview to relieve the curiosity regarding the topics you listed.

As I stated on the original post our concern is that information does not flow as accurately as we would like in our shops from person to person. It has been the committee's experience during these negotiations that rumors spread faster than the facts.

That is why we want a contract in your hand, to go line by line, word for word and be able to explain the whole contract and answer everyones questions at once in an open forum. This insures everyone hears the same thing and only the facts.

Taking the Newspaper industry's fading pulse into account, the heavy company debt,as well as the current economy, the committee is in agreement that we have the foundation we sought in this contract. The agreements will also put close to 2 million dollars in our pockets and purses over the term of the contract. I hope that caviot put some minds at ease.

Sonny said that if the company had it's way, we would be doing more for less and if we had it our way, we would be doing less for more.

Neither concept is fair.

Fraternally,
Ronnie

C.RENEY said...

Having been there my self I know how much hard work and soul searching went into this contract.Not a single stone was left unturned w/all members in mind.

Thank you

Leon Powell said...

Ronnie,

If "we" are the union then all of "us" should have the facts, not just a select few. I heard last night (sat) that many would vote no on the contract simply because they didn't get a copy of the contract prior to the upcoming meeting. In this modern day and age we all should have access to this information. It is as simple as perhaps you and Ed Padgett posting the contract in a PDF file.This would effectively avoid the rumors and problems associated with mouth to mouth communications.Not having the necessary information will lead to many more rumors being spread than having it at our fingertips. I think not sharing this information is a big mistake. Anyhow that's my two cents.

Ronnie Pineda said...

I have heard your concerns and do not want to send the wrong message. We are all in this together and this is everyones union and contract. The committee is in the process of proof reading the contract in it's entirety to make sure everything is correct prior to presentation for ratification.

I intend on speaking to our representatives tomorrow to forward the request for advance copys of the contract.

A lot of time, sacrafice and hard work has went into this contract by the committee and we have a valid concern based on the history of our pressrooms and the rumors that run rampant within our shops.
We don't want all of our hard work to be for not by having the language misinterpreted and cause someone to make a premature decision based on mis-information.

This reminds me of how the Bible has been read by so many and the vast interpretations that have been arrived at.

It's no surprise that the individuals demanding a copy are the same that voted against representation to begin with, and failed recently to decertify our union.

The brothers and sisters who have been supportive of our union from the beginning trust their elected negotiating committee has served them and their interests to the best of their abilities at the table, and we on the negotiating committee believe we have.

Anonymous said...

Ronnie,
Are you really listening to our concerns? Then show us the contract well in advance to the day we have to vote on accepting or rejecting it. What are you afraid of? Do you hold us, your fellow pressmen, in such contempt that you think we are not intelligent enough to accurately interpret the terms of this contract, which if accepted, is going to dictate how we live our lives at work for many years? You say you want to avoid rumors, then show us the facts. It's bad enough the company always kept us in the dark, now our elected representatives think we're too stupid to handle the truth, that's a slap in the face to all of us who supported the union. And yes, not all of us who don't want to be kept in the dark are anti-union, though we may very well end up that way before this is all said and done!

Rumors are already rampant, end the rumors, show us the facts, show us the contract and not an edited "overview"! Have the same faith in us that we have had in you, trust us, we're smart enough to read a contract and make the right decision.

And it's rather arrogant of you to draw comparisons between a union contract and the Bible, shame on you.

Ronnie Pineda said...

First of all this is not my sole decision. I have, from day one, never made a single decision without input from others. I did not make this call that the contracts be introduced to the bargaining unit at the Ratification Meeting, that decision was made by our Representative Sonny Shannon and I admit, was agreed to by the committee for obvious reasons I've stated. No one is questioning anyones intelligence, or lack of.

Collective bargaining agreements are not the same as buying a house or a car, the language is unique and varies from contract to contract and all we want is the opportunity to present it in the way it was created and not someone's perception of what they think it means.

This is not an abnormal decision as it is standard in most union contract ratifation processes.
As I stated in the previous comment, we are proofing the language for accuracy and I will do my best to get copies into everyone's hands prior to the meeting. I'm really sorry for the suspense, it is not meant to be elusive or keep you in the dark, we only want to preserve the contract language and it's true meaning.

Also, I would never compare any document to the Bible, I merely stated that there are myriad of interpretations. I apologize if I offended anyone by doing so.

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