Independent Newspapers Bargaining Bulletin
Posted September, 19, 2011
Guild representatives have been bargaining with the Independent Newspapers, Inc., owners of the Macomb Daily and Daily Tribune since July 6. We have had four joint bargaining sessions with the other unions representing employees at the newspapers and five individual Guild sessions.
In joint bargaining, we discussed economics, mainly dealing with length of contract, wages and health care. The Company still has on the table proposals for a one-year contract, no wage increases and employee contribution of 40% of health care costs. The Company claims that these things are necessary due to the economy and the financial condition of the business. We asked for and received a great deal of financial information, and we have had extensive discussion and debate about financial conditions. The Unions proposed 3-year contracts, wage increases, and reduced health contributions.
In Guild individual bargaining, the Company has proposed many changes to our contract language. The proposals would give the Company the right to outsource any and all work done by Guild members and transfer work to other facilities operated by Journal Register Company (JRC) which owns Independent Newspapers. In response to our requests for information, the Company stated that it intends to use more pages created elsewhere and shared among JRC papers, such as national news. It also intends to combine business office and accounting functions among the newspapers. If this happened, it would result in layoffs.
The Company also proposed to combine job classifications so that reporters, copy editors and photographers would perform a broad variety of duties for the print and digital versions of the papers. It proposed to eliminate shift differentials and to change how overtime is paid.
The Company’s proposals are far-reaching and troublesome. We have made almost no progress on the difficult issues of wages, health care and outsourcing. Our next joint bargaining session is set for September 26.
We will have a membership meeting for Independent Newspaper Guild members on 11:00 a.m., Sunday, October 2, at CWA Local 4008’s hall, located at 145 Colonial Court in M.t Clemens. We will discuss the status of bargaining and the bargaining issues in detail. Please mark your calendars.
In Solidarity, Lou Mleczko, President; Bill Fleming, Unit Chair;
Norb Franz, Bargaining Committee; Pam Marbach, Bargaining Committee