Post-Dispatch unit ratifies contract extension

Aug 18, 2015 by

The Post-Dispatch unit of the United Media Guild approved a three-year contract extension by a 71-23 vote Tuesday afternoon at the newspaper’s downtown building.

The extension — the result of expedited bargaining earlier this month — will take effect immediately and run through Sept. 30, 2018.

The contract includes increases to the pay scale by:

2 percent on Dec. 27, 2015.
2 percent on Dec. 26, 2016.
2 percent on Dec. 25, 2017.

On Dec. 27, 2015, “commission only” sales reps will become “base plus commission” and receive $625 per week in base pay.

On that date, “base plus commission” sales reps will receive $575 per week in base pay will get an increase to $625 per week.

On that date, “base plus commission” sales reps will receive $673 per week in base pay will get an increase to $721 per week.

Severance pay for involuntary lay-offs will remain the same as in the current contract. That is a critical protection for our long-time members, especially those in areas already decimated by lay-offs.

Maximum severance for voluntary layoffs — those stepping up to save the jobs of others — will be capped at 39 weeks effective 9/28/2015. On 9/26.2016, the voluntary layoff pay will be capped at 26 weeks.

These changes reduces the incentive for long-time employees to step up and take lay-offs in place of shorter-term employees. But the group of employees eligible for up to 66 weeks of severance in the expiring contract has shrunk by one-third this summer.

Managers can exempt employees at the low end of our seniority list from lay-off. Effective 9/28/2015, the company can exempt from layoffs up to 20 employees in any department or classification regardless of seniority.

But that number can’t exceed 15 percent of the Guild membership as of Jan. 1 of the applicable calendar year. In any classification where an employee is exempted, employees in the top 25 percent in seniority in that classification (rounded up) shall by protected from layoff for the life of the exemption.

On Dec. 27, 2015, the employee share of medical premiums would increase from 25 to 30 percent. But the total medical premium will be frozen in 2016 and 2017.

The net result will be an increase in medical premiums through 2017 ranging from slightly more than $10 per pay period to slightly more than $40 per period depending on the medical plan.

Those increases could offset the raises in the first year of the contract for some members, depending on their plan. In the second year of the contract, premiums will remain the same so our members will realize the full impact of the raise.

In the third year of the contract, medical premiums could increase again.

The Post-Dispatch unit also voted overwhelmingly to maintain the current 401K language, which includes a flat monthly contribution of $75. Our members had the option of switching to the company plan for non-represented employees, which currently matches 40 percent of the first 5 percent of the employee contribution.

But the company would have retained the right to modify or eliminate that matching contribution at any point during this contract. UMG would have waived the right to negotiate or grieve changes to the 401K match.

read more

Related Posts

Tags

Share This

Post-Dispatch contract ratification vote

Aug 14, 2015 by

Post-Dispatch Contract Ratification Meeting
Tuesday, August 18, 2015
Post-Dispatch Building, Conference Room 206

The meeting will start at noon and your Guild staff, Local president and PD unit chair will be on hand to discuss what occurred during the bargaining process and the proposed changes that were agreed to by the parties will be explained.

A summation of the proposed changes are currently being circulated (if you need one, ask your Guild steward) and copies will be available at the meetings.

Following the explanation of changes, there will be a question and answer period and each member will have a chance to ask for clarification or any other questions they may have.

After the changes have been explained, voting will commence. The vote will be conducted by secret ballot and tellers will be on hand to conduct the election.

Another meeting will start at 3:00 p.m. and, again, there will be an explanation of the proposed changes, followed by a question and answer period and then more voting.

The polls will remain open until 6:00 p.m.

To make the best decision possible, everyone is encouraged to attend one of the meetings, listen to the summation, ask questions and fully acquaint themselves with the proposed contract prior to casting their ballot.

read more

Related Posts

Tags

Share This

UMG votes Tuesday on contract extension

Aug 8, 2015 by

United Media Guild members will meet to discuss the proposed contract extension at noon and 3 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 18 in Rooms 206 at the Post-Dispatch building at 900 North Tucker Blvd. After the contract is explained and discussed, members will vote by secret ballot.

If approved, the extension will take effect Sept. 28, 2015 and run through Sept. 30, 2018.

If our members reject the extension, the UMG and Post-Dispatch will begin full-scale bargaining this fall. All the current contract provisions would be subject to negotiation and the process would likely extend into 2016, if not much, much longer.

Language in the current contract would remain in effect past the contract’s expiration date due to evergreen language in the collective bargaining agreement.

We are still in the process of finalizing the new language in this proposal. We hope to distribute flyers with those details in the workplace before the end of the week.

The contract would include increases to the pay scale by:

2 percent on Dec. 27, 2015.
2 percent on Dec. 26, 2016.
2 percent on Dec. 25, 2017.

On Dec. 27, 2015, “commission only” sales reps would become “base plus commission” and receive $625 per week in base pay.

On that date, “base plus commission” sales reps receiving $575 per week in base pay will get an increase to $625 per week.

On that date, “base plus commission” sales reps receiving $673 per week in base pay will get an increase to $721 per week.

Members will vote on whether to keep the current company 401K contribution of $75 per month or go with the plan for non-represented employees. That company plan currently matches 40 percent of the first 5 percent of the employee’s contribution.

But the company could modify or eliminate that 401K match during the course of the contract — and that would not be subject to negotiation with the UMG.

Severance pay for involuntary lay-offs will remain the same as in the current contract. That is a critical protection for our long-time members, especially those in areas already decimated by lay-offs.

Maximum severance for voluntary layoffs — those stepping up to save the jobs of others — will be capped at 39 weeks effective 9/28/2015. On 9/26.2016, the voluntary layoff pay will be capped at 26 weeks.

These changes reduces the incentive for long-time employees to step up and take lay-offs in place of shorter-term employees. But the group of employees eligible for up to 66 weeks of severance in the expiring contract has shrunk by one-third this summer.

Managers can exempt employees at the low end of our seniority list from lay-off. Effective 9/28/2015, the company can exempt from layoffs up to 20 employees in any department or classification regardless of seniority.

But that number can’t exceed 15 percent of the Guild membership as of Jan. 1 of the applicable calendar year. In any classification where an employee is exempted, employees in the top 25 percent in seniority in that classification (rounded up) shall by protected from layoff for the life of the exemption.

On Dec. 27, 2015, the employee share of medical premiums would increase from 25 to 30 percent. But the total medical premium will be frozen in 2016 and 2017.

The net result will be an increase in medical premiums through 2017 ranging from slightly more than $10 per pay period to slightly more than $40 per period depending on the medical plan.

Those increases could offset the raises in the first year of the contract for some members, depending on their plan. In the second year of the contract, premiums will remain the same so our members will realize the full impact of the raise.

In the third year of the contract, medical premiums could increase again.

Under the current contract, our members endured a 6 percent pay cut plus unpaid furloughs. In addition, our members lost ground to inflation and increased medical care costs, through premium increases and higher deductibles and co-pays.

This extension would restore the pay cuts. Inside salespersons gained base pay in this contract after working on a commission-only arrangement. All base-plus-commission salespersons will gain base pay increases, offering greater protection in down months when they make little or no commission.

Given the declining revenues in the industry overall and Lee Enterprises in particular, we aimed to extend this contract sooner or later.

read more

Related Posts

Tags

Share This

NLRB cites State Journal-Register for surveillance, intimidation of UMG members

Jul 30, 2015 by

The National Labor Relations Board found merit in our Unfair Labor Practice charges against the State Journal-Register and GateHouse Media. Company managers (among other things) videoed our members during an informational demonstration outside of the newspaper building — which is a protected act under the law.

An investigation by the NLRB verified our complaints of:

• Unlawful surveillance of employees.
• Creating an atmosphere of surveillance in the workplace.

The Board found these behaviors to be coercive and an attempt at employee intimidation. As a result of the ruling, the Board will first send the employer an offer of settlement. Such an offer typically includes:

• Posting a notice in the workplace of employee’s legal rights under the National Labor Relations Act.
• A public admission that they broke the law

Employers are usually given a few weeks to decide whether the settle. Should the SJ-R not answer, the Board will likely issue charge against that paper around the end of August. Should the employer chose to fight the Board’s finding, a trial would likely follow two months after that.

The Board Agent heading up the investigation told the UMG that “Those SJ-R employees were really solid witnesses. They were capable, competent and intelligent. You’ve got an impressive group there.”

We couldn’t agree more.

Earlier the NLRB cited the Rockford Register Star and GateHouse Media for Unfair Labor Practices against UMG members there. The company appealed the ruling, but then settled the matter with us before trial.

read more

Related Posts

Tags

Share This

Nine UMG members collect Post-Dispatch severance

Jul 9, 2015 by

As expected, several long-time United Media Guild members volunteered to accept lay-offs in place of the four reporters and one copy editor originally targeted.

The company made this announcement:

Under the terms of the United Media Guild’s collective bargaining agreement, four reporters and a copy editor were reinstated from the June 26 reduction in force. Nine members of the Guild applied for voluntary separation and the Post-Dispatch accepted. Columnist Bill McClellan volunteered but will continue to write a Sunday column. Bill’s column will appear this Friday and Sunday, and then resume Sundays only on Aug. 2 after his previously scheduled vacation.

This was the culmination of a months-long process. Here is how it broke down:

Earlier this year, the UMG and Post-Dispatch management discussed the possibility of reducing the workforce by offering long-time newsroom employees the opportunity to depart voluntarily and collect severance. After originally seeking volunteers, P-D management changed its mind and announced there would be no voluntary layoffs.

UMG leaders urged the company to reconsider, since this was an opportunity to “clear the decks” of senior journalists before the expiration of the current collective bargaining agreement in September. We knew we have several members in position to either retire early or move on to other jobs.

Not long after the company proposed expedited bargaining to extend our contract, the company announced layoffs — including the four reporters and one copy editor, among other UMG members. This prompted the UMG to revisit the earlier discussions about voluntary departures, including our earlier discussion of McClellan’s situation. It became readily apparent we would get enough volunteers to cover the reporters and the editor.

After the layoffs were announced, UMG leadership discussed the parameters of the expedited bargaining. The company indicated that it would be willing to offer raises but it would want some revision of our current severance language — which allows long-time employees to collect up to 66 weeks of pay, depending on their hiring date and years of service.

Not coincidentally, we soon learned that a larger group of members wanted to leave under the current contract language. More reporters than necessary stepped up to take the severance and UMG members in other classifications also volunteered.

Ultimately the company decided to expand the layoff by taking nine volunteers. In addition, the company offered to pay severance to the originally targeted editor — even though another editor volunteered for the layoff. That editor ultimately decided to stay, along with the four reporters.

read more

Related Posts

Tags

Share This

UMG members step up for laid-off co-workers

Jul 1, 2015 by

The Post-Dispatch laid off several United Media Guild members last Thursday, including four reporters and one full-time copy editor.

As of Tuesday afternoon, four of our members had volunteered to take the place of the laid-off reporters. Also, one copy editor volunteered to replace his desk colleague in the layoff.

The company will consider volunteers in the order of their seniority within their classification. According our contract with the Post-Dispatch, a member replacing a fellow member in the layoff will collect severance pay based on hiring date and time of service.

The human resources department is still accepting volunteers. It wants to hear from all interested parties by July 7 so newsroom managers can finalize the layoff and notify our members of the final outcome.

Anybody will questions should contact Shannon Duffy or Mary Casey at the UMG office at 314-241-7046.

read more

Related Posts

Tags

Share This

Post-Dispatch lays off UMG members

Jun 26, 2015 by

The Post-Dispatch laid off nine members of the United Media Guild, including seven full-time employees and two temporary employees. The impacted employees include four reporters, one editor, two editors working on a temporary basis, a work station operator and a carpenter.

Under the terms of our collective bargaining agreement, other UMG members may volunteer to accept the layoff in their place.

Employees hired before Dec. 1, 1994 get one week of severance pay for every six months of continuous employment, up to 66 weeks.

Employees hired after Dec. 1, 1994 get one week of severance pay for every one year of continuous employment, up to 26 weeks.

UMG members interested in volunteering to resign to collect the severance should contact human resources.

According to our contract, “within a period of two weeks from the date of such notice any employee in a classification within the affected department may resign voluntarily and take dismissal pay under the provisions of Article XV of this Agreement, provided the total of such resignations shall not exceed the number of jobs affected in a given classification within that department.”

read more

Related Posts

Tags

Share This

UMG to begin expedited bargaining with Post-Dispatch

Jun 24, 2015 by

Soon the United Media Guild will start expedited bargaining with Post-Dispatch management for a new collective bargaining agreement.

Our current CBA expires Sept. 27. Rather than engage in comprehensive bargaining over dozens of topics, the UMG and the company will focus on a handful of critical issues to see if we can strike a deal.

We hope to start bargaining sometime in July and conclude the negotiations within weeks.

After reviewing dozens of negotiation questionnaires filled out by our members, the UMG has set two priorities for this contract:

1) Restore lost wages. Our members in most classifications suffered 6 percent wage cuts in the previous contract and also endured unpaid furloughs. Meanwhile the cost of living increased, as did the out-of-pocket expenses for those using the Lee Enterprises medical plan.

2) Protect our salespeople from drastic earnings losses caused by company actions. Those would include altering sales plans, client lists and territory assignments.

Additional negotiating priorities will be discussed by members of the bargaining oversight committee, which features a broad cross-section of UMG members. This oversight committee will monitor and advise the bargaining team led by business representatives Shannon Duffy and Mary Casey and Post-Dispatch unit chair Joe Holleman.

The oversight committee will meet for the first time Tuesday, June 30 at 6:15 p.m. at the UMG office at 1015 Locust, Suite 735. Then will meet with the bargaining team periodically to discuss negotiating developments and strategies.

We hope to bring a proposal to a full membership vote by the end of the summer. Should expedited bargaining fail to produce a contract our members approve, we will shift to more traditional negotiations that could extend well past the expiration of our current contract.

In that case our members would continue working under terms of the old contract, thanks to the evergreen clause that keeps our protections in place while we negotiate.

read more

Related Posts

Tags

Share This