Gannett screws over Guild

Dateline: Tue 07 Oct 2008

This memo was issued today by the Guild of the Indianapolis Star:

"Oct. 7, 2008

To fellow union members and all covered "bargaining unit" employees:

On Aug. 25, the Indianapolis Newspaper Guild (TNG-CWA 34070) grieved the layoffs of five coworkers, arguing that the company did not follow the terms of our collective bargaining agreement, Article VI, Section 1, which requires reductions in force be done by seniority. Filing a grievance and waiting for the company's response is a mandatory step before going to the next, more aggressive "binding arbitration" stage.

The company today officially rejected our grievance, which is their

right. We notified them as well we are filing for mandatory

arbitration, which allows an impartial third party to decide the

matter.

In August, and in virtually every meeting we have had with management, the Guild implored the company to explore the idea of "volunteers" for the impending layoffs. We know of coworkers who are interested in an early exit, and who wanted to spare other employees who are earlier in their careers and want to stay.

As the result of our action today, we expect the company to threaten to lay off by a "last hired, first fired" policy if we win this arbitration. As distasteful as that is to us, abandoning seniority would 1) subject the union to legal action from anyone improperly laid off (because we would be accused of not providing "fair representation") and 2) make anyone, irrespective of seniority, susceptible to arbitrary and capricious layoffs, dismissals and reductions in force.

Open House: Please feel free to drop by our HQ at the Indianapolis

Musician's Hall, 325 N. Delaware St., at noon, and from 6 to 8 p.m.

Oct. 23 with pizza and refreshments, to answer questions about the

previous layoff and to discuss upcoming contract talks, and to meet officers. Also, we will have a full Inkling in the next few days to go into this and other important details, including negotiating our new collective bargaining agreement beginning later this year.

In solidarity,

Abe Aamidor, President

and Guild officers"

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