DELIVERY REPS VOTE NO, 53 to 37
Outside circulation workers voted 53 to 37 not to join the Providence Newspaper Guild in a mail ballot election tallied yesterday by the National Labor Relations Board.
The vote came as a
disappointment to the Guild, because it means that 100 of the companys
lowest paid workers will not get the job security, grievance protections,
guaranteed benefits and other advantages of unionization.
The results follow
an anti-union campaign waged by the company to discourage District Service
Representatives from joining. The campaign seemed to mirror the companys
drive against the Guild itself during the on-going negotiations for a
In a letter-writing
campaign and in personal meetings with the circulation workers, the company
sought to sow discord between the workers and union activists, and to
frighten them into believing that they might lose benefits they now enjoy.
There was also a widespread
rumor that the DSRs would receive a wage increase of up to $5 an hour
if they voted against the Guild. The DSR pay levels currently compare
poorly to those of janitors in the Guild unit, $8.90 to $11.63 an hour
for DSRs, compared to $9.95 to $13.47 for janitors, with most DSRs working
Management also pointed
to the lack of a contract between the Guild and the newspaper so far to
replace the pact that expired in January. That was a self-fulfilling charge
since the company itself has engaged in what the Guild believes are illegal
tactics that have delayed negotiations.
The company had been
on the attack from the beginning, first trying to get the NLRB to block
the election with the preposterous argument that the DSRs were management,
a proposition that the NLRB quickly dismissed.
For its part, the
Guild entered the election process with the clear understanding that a
substantial majority of DSRs wanted union representation. The Guild announced
April 20 that a majority of the 100 workers had signed cards saying they
wanted to join.
are historically difficult, and it sometimes takes several attempts to
win, precisely because of the fierce opposition typical of management.
The Guild itself needed
more than one election when it was founded more than a quarter century
ago to represent newsroom workers, who later were joined by the advertising
And it is likely that in the future, another organizing drive will be made in the circulation department.
With the DSR organizing
campaign over, the Journal has offered to resume contract talks with the
Guild. However, the company offer of available negotiating dates is not
The company is conditioning
its willingness to meet on the Guild making "meaningful changes"
in its proposals.
The Guild substantially modified its proposals on May 3. The Journal has refused to meet to respond to that proposal. However, the company has written the Guild rejecting the May 3 proposal.
TNG/CWA Local 31041
270 Westmister St., Providence, Rhode Island 02903
401-421-9466 | Fax: 401-421-9495