Guild vs. Star management

Dateline: Tue 10 Mar 2009

Indianapolis Newspaper Guild vice president Vic Ryckaert explains the union's concerns regarding management's contract proposals, in regards to the seniority clause and "same as" clause:

"The elimination of seniority is a facet of its contract proposal, but it's not the most heinous. That honor (dishonor?) goes to their 'same as'

language that essentially allows the co. (company) to break the contract at will as long as the actions it takes reach to at least two other employees not covered by the guild.

"We in the bargaining committee have speculated that there might be a

regional copy desk. Pure speculation.

"I doubt they are trying to break the guild by pitting old v. young.

"It's no secret that Gannett has not been friendly to the news Guilds at its papers....They are ramping up the heat on us this year. The co's

strategy is pretty clear -- use the economic troubles as a basis for a new

agreement that weakens the guild's contract protections.

"We are working to save as much as we can. It's extremely difficult in this climate, especially with G stock trading at under $3."

"It's tough for us to negotiate to save seniority when many of our colleagues are simply happy to still have jobs."

More explanation from Vic as to the 'same as' clause;

"The way it was explained to us: The co can make any cost saving move (wage cuts/layoffs etc) to members of the bargaining unit as long as the cost saving move also impacts at least two non-members of the bargaining unit. So they could cut wages of covered employees by extending the wage cuts to advertising, hr, or any other department (not even the whole dept, just two employees according to the language as it stands) and the guild would have no right grieve or arbitrate."

Hence, the Guild's slogan: "Negotiate, Don't Dictate."

Note to readers: the earlier version of this post identified Vic as the Guild president; he is the vice president. Tom Spalding was elected president in January.


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