Vol XI, No. 19TNG/CWA Local 31041February 8, 2000

Contract Fight Escalates:
ProJo Attempts to Scare Guild Members

The company has responded to the Guild members' overwhelmingly rejection of its contract offer with illegal actions clearly intended to escalate the conflict.

After publisher Howard Sutton exhorted the membership to tell Guild leaders what they think, Human Services Manager Thomas J. McDonough today distributed a letter essentially saying that the Providence Journal couldn't care less what we think and would rather intimidate and threaten us.

McDonough's letter says that the union security provision, under which bargaining-unit employees are required to pay their share of union dues, is no longer in effect. This is not true. Under our contract, the union security clause remains in effect until the end of our NEXT contract.

Starting with next week's paychecks, the company will stop deducting dues from our paychecks. This is an attempt to impoverish and harass the union by forcing us to collect dues by hand. It is also illegal.

Dues checkoff can stop only during certain time periods: 30 to 15 days before the expiration of the contract or 30 to 15 days before the anniversary of the day that each individual signed the dues checkoff form.

No one is required to be a Guild member, but people in bargaining-unit jobs who have been paying dues are required to continue to do so, as are any new hires. While fighting the company's action, the Guild leadership is considering ways to collect dues from members.

Meanwhile, our unfair labor practice charges against the company are currently under investigation by the National Labor Relations Board. The Guild alleges that the company bargained in bad faith and illegally made unilateral changes in the contract, including imposing medical plans without negotiation, taking away a personal day, and taking away parking from part-timers.

And on April 10, an important grievance goes to arbitration. This grievance protests the company's failure to apply the "me-too clause" to our wages last year. We got a 2 percent wage increase plus 1 percent gainsharing, while non-Guild people got a 3 percent wage increase. Our contract says that we're entitled to a 3 percent wage increase in addition to the gainsharing.

Plans to respond to the company's unfortunate declaration of war are in the works, and you will be kept informed. Meanwhile, as always, members of the executive board welcome your input.

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