Guild Seeks Speedy Arbitration Payout
Arbitrator to oversee
The decision by arbitrator Gary D. Altman last week supported the Guild's position that the union should have received a higher wage hike than was granted by the company in 1999.
The Guild believes the wage hike should have been 4.0502
percent - compared with the 3.02 percent that bargaining unit members
actually received from the company.
Moreover, the back pay for the past 19 months should be
paid with interest, the Guild believes, since the company has had the
use of the Guild bargaining unit's money during this time because of the
That's a $9.79 difference every week, or an estimated
$783 in gross back pay since new wage rates took effect Jan. 1, 1999.
Tim Schick, the Guild's administrator, said that the company
should need only a reasonable amount of time to calculate and implement
the new wage rates, and to pay out the retroactive cash.
One factor that should help in the payment of the increase
is the decision by arbitrator Altman to "retain jurisdiction"
in the case for 30 days.
The Guild had asked the arbitrator to remain active should
there be disputes about the solution, and he did just that in his July
"I will retain jurisdiction for 30 days should there
be any question with respect to implementation of this remedy," Altman
The Guild filed the grievance after it examined pay raises handed out to both the Guild and to other union and non-union workers last year, and concluded that Guild members should have received more money.
The Guild and other unions - the Teamsters and the Pressmen
- all have clauses in their contracts that provide that if one gets a
hike in base wages, the others will get the same, keeping everyone roughly
Meanwhile, the Guild has a provision that can further
increase the base wages, under the so-called Gainsharing bonus plan. That
adds 1 percentage point to base wages during years that company-established
Gainsharing goals are met.
When Gainsharing goals were realized for Guild workers
for 1999 wages, that meant that instead of getting
only a 2 percent raise provided for in the contract's
annual pay schedule, its wage rate was hiked 3.02
percent (which included compounding).
Non-Guild workers received the same rate of wage increase,
But at the time, the company had shifted the other unions and workers out of Gainsharing and into the A.H. Belo Corporation's so-called "Profit Performance Bonus" plan, which pays out annual cash bonuses, but doesn't provide for accompanying hikes in the base wage scales.
Thus, in 1999, there were two different bonus payments:
The Guild got a 1 percent cash bonus, and 1 percent added
onto its scheduled 2 percent wage hike in accordance with the Gainsharing
The Pressmen, the Teamsters and non-union workers received
a lump-sum cash payment of 2.25 percent under the Profit Performance Bonus,
more than twice the Guild's bonus.
But the company adjusted the wage rates of the other workers, just as if they were still on the Gainsharing system. They saw a 3.02 percent increase, the same level that the Guild workers received.
The Guild argued - and the arbitrator agreed - that what
should havehappened was that the company should have provided the Guild
the total 3.02 percent wage rate increase, since that's what the other
unions got, and then added another 1 percentage pointto that because of
The Guild argued in the arbitration case that its base wage increase in 1999 should be 4.0502 percent, thecombination of the wage rates paid in general, in addition to gainsharing's 1 percentage point add-on.
TNG/CWA Local 31041
270 Westmister St., Providence, Rhode Island 02903
401-421-9466 | Fax: 401-421-9495