Guild asks mediator for
new bargaining session
After taking three
weeks to review the Guild's latest negotiating proposal, the company Tuesday
rejected the offer, and said that it continues to "stand by"
its own Jan. 24 proposal.
The newspaper's last
offer was rejected by the Guild membership in early February in a 354
to 28 secret ballot vote.
After receiving the
company's letter concerning the company's bargaining position, Tim Schick,
Guild administrator and chief negotiator, said he will contact federal
mediator Paul Chabot and ask him to schedule a new negotiating meeting.
Meanwhile, the executive
board met yesterday to set in motion several responses to the company's
A one-week byline
strike will begin Monday, June 5, through Sunday, June 11.
The board also ordered
detailed planning to begin for a work-to-rule program and public rallies.
The membership earlier
this year authorized the executive board to call a work-to-rule program;
the board had not done so, pending the company's response to the May 3
round of bargaining.
With the company's
direction now clear, the board determined to begin the action in the middle
of next month.
has the duty to meet and bargain and make proposals," Schick said.
During the May 3 bargaining
meeting, conducted under mediator Chabot's supervision, the Guild made
what it described as "substantial movement" in its contract
The Guild adopted
the company's cap on medical insurance premium co-payments; it lowered
its wage demand; it proposed a new 401k retirement savings program, based
on the plan that the Belo Corp. has said it is offering non-Guild workers
throughout the corporation.
The union also proposed
payment of a "signing bonus" of 2.75 percent, which is the equivalent
of the bonus the company paid to non-Guild workers earlier this year,
while foregoing the payment of a "gainsharing" bonus to Guild
In suggesting the
bonus, the Guild offered to drop a grievance - now headed for arbitration
- in which it contends the company owes the Guild a one-percentage point
raise, based on the contract's "me-too" clause that is triggered
by pay hikes granted other unions.
(The Guild Leader
incorrectly reported May 5 that the grievance to be dropped involved payment
of the bonus).
Richard A. Perras,
the lawyer who is the company's chief negotiator, wrote to Schick that
the company considers the Guild's latest offer "to be widening the
gulf between the parties rather than closing the gap between us."
The Guild's proposed
drop of the second year wage increase, from 5 to 4 percent, "at this
stage of these negotiations, is patently unreasonable," Parris wrote.
The company has offered
3 percent wage hikes in each of three years of a new contract; as of May
3, the Guild's proposal is 5 percent in the first year, and 4 percent
in each of the remaining years.
The Guild has said
that wage rates are not expected to be a major issue if other elements
of the contract can be agreed to.
Parris also contended
that the Guild's latest proposal included the added provision of a signing
But Parris failed to acknowledge that the Guild had offered to drop its grievance on the "me-too" raise, which the union estimates will cost the company $250,000; that the drop in wage demands by one-percentage point is equivalent to a 2 point drop over the term of the agreement; and that the adoption of the medical premium cap is a significant change.
Guild Goes to A Ball, Spreads Word
Decked out in red
union T-shirts, Guild members May 13 let some of the state's top corporate
and political leaders know how the newspaper is mistreating its major
A half-dozen union members distributed leaflets at the "The Celebration of the Century: The State House Centennial Ball."
The reason the union
appeared at the event?
The guests, in gowns
and tuxedos, paid considerable sums (or their companies did) to raise
money to preserve the Capitol.
The leaflets urged
the contributors to preserve another important state landmark, the Providence
Newspaper Guild, thus ensuring a viable newspaper well into the next century.
The yellow and white
handouts described the difficult contract negotiations now underway at
the paper, and the strained conditions under which Guild members are being
forced to work.
Presented with personal
copies of the leaflets were publisher Howard G. Sutton, former publisher
Steve Hamblett, executive editor Joel P. Rawson, and many other notables,
including top GOP National Committeewoman Eileen Slocum, Providence Mayor
Vincent A. "Buddy" Cianci, Lt.Gov. Charles Fogarty and U.S.
Senate candidate Richard Licht.
The union's point,
as it has been at similar events in which the company has played a role,
is to note the difference between the public-spirited face the newspaper
presents to the community and the mean-spirited policies it is trying
force on its own workers.
TNG/CWA Local 31041
270 Westmister St., Providence, Rhode Island 02903
401-421-9466 | Fax: 401-421-9495