Vol XI, No. 39TNG/CWA Local 31041April 21, 2000


Outside Circulation Department includes 105 workers
Follows positive efforts by Guild local at Worcester Telegram & Gazette
Representation election, overseen by NLRB, likely next step
The Guild is about to grow by more than 100 workers.

In a major advance for the union movement at The Providence Journal, a majority of workers in the paper's outside circulation department said they want to be represented by the Providence Newspaper Guild.

There are 105 workers in that department.

The Guild bargaining unit currently includes about 500 workers in the news and advertising departments.

Tim Schick, Guild administrator, notified the company yesterday that the union requests recognition as the sole collective bargaining agent.

The next step is expected to be an election by the workers, to be conducted by the National Labor Relations Board.

An organizing effort by the Guild resulted in the signing of cards by a majority of the circulation workers asserting they wish to join the Guild.

The development is noteworthy on several fronts:

Importantly, it is a sign of how needed unions are at The Journal.

Attracting new members is one of the toughest hurdles unions face. It is only possible because of hard work by organizers - and it's usually a sign that working conditions have become difficult.

Such drives indicate that the workers involved - in this case, those in the outside circulation department - have had to take the courageous step of seeking union representation, and then contracting their colleagues that it makes sense to become members of a union.

This is the latest in a string of positive organizing efforts by the Guild.

The Providence local won bargaining rights at The Worcester Telegram & Gazette news department in Massachusetts seven years ago. In March, the Guild won an election to represent 50 members of the Worcester paper's outside circulation department; currently, an election is pending on Guild representation by 26 Telegram & Gazette inside circulation workers.

The request for representation by the Journal outside circulation workers is the first significant organizing effort at the paper since 1996, when the Teamsters won the right to represent inserters in the mailing room.

Involved in the department are district service representatives, who make sure newspapers make it from regional circulation centers to the customer's door.

Schick notified Thomas McDonough, The Journal's human resources manager, that the Guild of the development in two letters yesterday, one of them requesting recognition as the collective bargaining representative.

He also warned McDonough not to retaliate against the circulation workers who have been running the organizing campaign, naming some of the key members of the committee, which pushed the drive:

Scott Dion, Thomas Cahir, Robert Caputo, Thomas Flynn, Bill McGowan, Rick Smith and Robb Yates.

Schick quoted key sections of the National Labor Relations Act that notes employees' rights to join unions and that it is against the law for the company "to interfere with, restrain, or coerce employees" who are exercising their rights to belong to unions.


Vote set Wednesday

Today the Guild continues it series of lunches to discuss the upcoming work-to-rule vote by the membership Wednesday, April 26.

The lunches will be at the Guild office, 270 Westminster St. in Providence from noon to 1 p.m. each day:

  • Today, April 21

  • Monday, April 24

Guild leaders will discuss some of the thinking going into the proposed program, one of several steps the union is taking to attempt to move contract negotiations along.

In addition, the union wants to hear members' thoughts and suggestions on the plan.

Those who aren't able to get to these mid-day forums are encouraged to call Tim Schick, Guild administrator, to arrange a one-to-one meeting.

Also, members are encouraged to seek out members of the Executive Board. They are:

Bob Jagolinzer, president; Jeff Andrade, vice president; John Hill, secretary; Greg Smith, treasurers; and at-large members, Tom Bunn, Felice Freyer, Bill Hopkins, Kerry Kohring, Claire LaRue, Ellen Liberman and Steve Sloan.

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