Vol XI, No. 17TNG/CWA Local 31041February 3, 2000


WHEN: Today, Feb. 3
TIME: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
PLACE: Guild office 270 Westminster St., Providence

Two-day balloting ends at 5 p.m.
Exec. board, negotiators: `vote no'

Today - Thursday, Feb. 3 - is the final day for voting on the company's proposal.

The ballot box will be available at Guild headquarters until 5 p.m.

The office is across from the University of Rhode Island building at 270 Westminster St., Providence. Phone: 421-9466.

Voting began yesterday at the start of the first of two membership meetings to discuss the bargaining for a new contract.

Both the executive board and the negotiating committee have recommended that the membership reject the company's proposal.

The proposal includes pay raises of 3 percent in each of three years.

In recommending rejection, the board and bargaining committees point to a number of issues, including the company's refusal to offer the Belo Corp. pension and 401k retirement plans to the Guild bargaining unit, although they have been extended to other employees of the company.


Stephen Rhind

I would like to thank Howard Sutton for suggesting that Guild members discuss the company's contract proposal with their friends and neighbors. It has only deepened my resolve to vote NO on the contract.

When told of the company's "last, best and final" offer, my brother responded: "Gee, Steve, it doesn't sound like a very good deal to me". When I asked him why, he said, "Because I just got a 17% bonus and I don't contribute anything towards my health benefits."

But one does not have to look beyond the company, and in many cases not beyond their own department, to realize that we are getting a raw deal.

For the company to impose the least attractive parts of the Belo benefit package while withholding improvements to the retirement and 401k programs that non-Guild employees enjoy is unconscionable.

I am further appalled at the company's insistence that the Guild drop all pending grievances. I know that the Guild does not wontedly nor recklessly file grievances and I do not believe that we should further erode the strength of our union by conceding them. Pending grievances should not become part and parcel of contract negotiations.

I could go on and on, but I think you get the gist of where I'm coming from. If Mr. Sutton wants to continue the tradition of excellence that The Providence Journal has become, he should reward the people who have gotten him there. Maybe I just answered my own question.

* * *

Fed-up Part-timer

Enough already!

Good faith? What's that? We have NO choice! We must reject this contract.

As a part-timer, I have worked for this company for six plus years in a union position and nine years in a non-union position. I have seen many good changes and some questionable ones.

However, now it's time to make the management see: "We are the paper, we love this paper and only want what is FAIR."

Again! We ask the company: Are you sure this is good faith bargaining?

Asking for a small raise, competent health plans, 401k improvements and parking, we need this! This is our life, our hard-earned money we need to make the most to secure our futures. Can't they understand this?

The problem is, this doesn't affect them so they can't relate.

Have they been turned away from parking or health care? Probably not.

I figured out what I paid for parking for the last year and a half: $1,600 plus. That is almost two months' salary for a part-timer. Doesn't this seem crazy?

We produce for them. Shouldn't they produce for us?

A fair contract. Everyone benefits!

* * *

A view from the Guild's Washington office

"I reviewed the Providence Journal's last, best and final offer,' to the Guild, and I agree with your bargaining committee that this offer should be rejected by the membership.

"The terms of the final offer seem to address many of the long-term problems the union has been trying to resolve by simply taking the union out of the debate on how the issues should be settled.

"This is most apparent in the proposal that outstanding grievances and the (unfair labor practice) charges must be withdrawn in exchange for the settlement.

"For instance, the union worked hard -- and quite effectively -- to preserve employer-paid parking. The company's parking proposal would allow management to change those arrangements at any time.

"The same is true in the Pre-publishing department, where operational changes have blurred the distinctions between prepress operator and specialist. The company's proposal to upgrade existing operators and start a second, lower tier of wages for new hires is completely unacceptable, especially when coupled with the proposal to allow the company a free hand to make future changes in that department's work processes, equipment duties and schedules without having to bargain with the union or address grievances.

"I know it has been a primary bargaining goal for the unit to secure (pension) and 401k benefits that are equal to those provided non-represented employees. The final offer does not accomplish that goal, and the promise of a re-opener on the issue provides no assurance that members' benefits will increase in the future.

"I commend the bargaining committee and the executive committee for sticking to (their) goals, and encourage (them) to redouble (their) efforts at membership mobilization and building a campaign of internal and public pressure on the Journal to create incentive for the company to offer a more favorable agreement."

-- Marian Needham, TNG-CWA

* * *

The John Kiffney Award

Nominations wanted for the Guild's annual Follies award honoring the late reporter and union officer. Send them to Brian Jones, newsroom, 7360; Bob Chiappinelli, West Bay news office, 8068; and Peter Lord, newsroom, 8036.

Copyright © 2000 The Providence Newspaper Guild
TNG/CWA Local 31041
270 Westmister St., Providence, Rhode Island 02903
401-421-9466 | Fax: 401-421-9495