Thursday, December 15, 2011

New Contract Highlights/Lowlights

  1. $1000.00 signing bonus
  2. 18 weeks of severance equaling approximately $20,000.00 per employee
  3. Retained 5th week of Vacation for eligible presspersons
  4. Maintained a 35 hour workweek, not 40 hours for same rate of pay.
  5. Union Shop language, Become a member or become terminated, No more Freeriders
  6. Dues to be deducted bi-weekly instead of monthly
  7. Six Month Disability Job Protection, includes 12 weeks under FMLA without threat of job loss
  8. "Me Too" Sick day conversion for up to 20 disability days of sick pay.
  9. Improved Arbitration Language to expedite our Grievances.
  10. Sick days will be paid the equivalent of 7 hours pay regardless of shift for a total of 35 hours per year.
  11. Union Leave of absence for Union Officers to conduct union business
  12. We now split arbitration costs instead of loser pays.
  13.  Transparent vacation pick process.  
These are the changes that I consider improvements on behalf of the membership during these negotiations.
The lowlights are obvious and listed below.
  1. Continued Wage freeze. Flipside, No wage concessions!
  2. 8 Part-time employees. Flipside, hired from only our rank and file!
  3. If Severance is accepted, Recall is waived
Compared to contracts negotiated in recent months at newspapers across the country, This current contract and the new language contained within can be considered damn good these days, whether you care to believe it or not.  Thank you Brothers Denson and Brierley for your hard and under appreciated work in negotiating these contract improvements. Thanks also to GCC/IBT International Representative Mike Huggins for your guidance and leadership at the table under very difficult bargaining circumstances. Thank you to all of the members who truly understand the situation for what it is and for your continued support. The Union gave you a voice, use it wisely and effectively, not against those that stand up for, and beside you.
    You can please some of the people some of the time, but in the pressroom, you will never please all of the people at any given time. We are doing the very best we can considering we're fighting the company with one hand tied behind our back, while the other is consistently seeking the back of a fellow employee to plunge a knife into. You know who you are, sitting in our meetings like Judas at the last supper. Sad but true. Apparently some things will never change, for everyone's sake, I hope it does before this agreement expires. If you haven't read it yet, do so.

    In Solidarity?

    Ronnie Pineda,
    GCC/IBT Local 140-N

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