PROJO REACH SETTLEMENT
people will receive payments, which range from $100 to $550.
offered to settle the matter last week, and the Executive Board approved
the agreement Sunday. That avoids an arbitration hearing that had been
scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 13.
marks a departure from the company's recent practice of taking everything
to the legal limit - for example, it has gone to court (and lost) trying
to overturn a grievance that the Guild already won in arbitration.
so, the company delayed the resolution of the matter for more than a year:
the grievance was filed Aug. 3, 1999.
the frustrating delay, it is a classic example of how the Guild can fight
the company's penny-pinching policies - policies that often seem aimed
at people who can least afford them.
assistant had her hours increased from parttime to fulltime.
it came time to pay her for her vacation, the company elected to pay her
on the basis of her old schedule, not her new one.
not talking about executive washroom salary levels here.
the Guild looked at this person's situation, it found four more similar
instances, all people in relatively low-paying classifications.
denied the grievance soon after it was filed; the Guild proposed some
remedies; the matter went through the lengthy process of seeking an arbitrator's
is the case, a settlement was proposed as the time for the arbitration
The settlement speeds up payments to the individuals, and it saves both sides the further costs of the arbitration process.
The taxi company
used by reporters and other Journal workers today declined to take a
reporter to Johnston for an election campaign interview, saying that
a newspaper executive had told the company not to provide voucher rides
outside the city of Providence.
appeared to be a response on the part of the company to the Guild's
As of this morning,
the Guild was unable to learn from the company if there has been a change
in transportation rules.
Some of those taxi
trips have proved to be expensive.
A reporter who went
to the ACI in Cranston for an interview ran up a bill of more than $30;
another went to North Smithfield, for a round trip worth more than $50;
a third went to a Warwick campaign headquarters to pick up a
This morning, Karen
Lee Ziner phoned East Side taxi that she needed a cab to go to Johnston
town hall, where she had arranged to interview a political candidate,
Kenneth Proulx, an independent running for U.S. Senate.
"Is that cash?"
the cab official said.
No, Ziner said
"It's not allowed,"
the taxi company man responded. "Patricia Welker called me up and
said there are no more taxis, except if you are going within Providence."
Ziner relayed this
to a city editor, who said he was unaware of any change and would look
into it. She then said she would ask whether the candidate would come
to the Journal building. Ziner paged Proulx, who drove to the newspaper.
The result, Ziner
said later, was potentially a less-well-rounded story. She had hoped
to follow the candidate around, and see him working in his own environment.
Further, she said, the change was rude to the candidate.
this guy," she said.
The Guild was not
immediately able to find out if there is a changed taxi-use policy.
Tim Schick, the
Guild administrator, telephoned Tom McDonough, the human resources chief,
who said he knew reporters were using cabs, but was unaware of the situation
related by Ziner. He told Schick that he would look into it.
In the past, many
reporters used their own cars, even though it's often been a break-even
or even money-losing proposition.
Unlike state staff
bureau reporters and advertising sales persons, general assignment and
beat reporters based in Providence do not get a regular monthly car
allowance, nor do they get free parking.
Instead, if they
use their cars to get to assignments, they pay for their own parking
and then put in for a per-mile car allowance, or the minimum $5.40 per-day
rate provided in the contract.
But this is entirely
voluntary on the reporters' part.
Recently, for example,
a Guild member who works downtown was discussing the company's car-use
policy with Welker, saying it was his opinion that if a reporter used
his or her car on a particular day, he or she should have downtown parking
costs paid, in addition to per-mile car allowance.
When Welker disagreed,
he then asked whether it would be okay to take a cab to do a story at
the Central Landfill in Johnston. Welker replied unequivocally: "If
you need to do a story and take a cab to the Central Landfill, we will
pay for it."
Earlier this summer,
Guild members discussed whether they should withdraw their personal
car "fleet" as part of work-to-rule.
The Guild membership
had authorized a work-to-rule program in response to the company's foot-dragging
over negotiating a new contract.
Some of the reporters
found the cab use quite efficient. They said it used less time, since
they didn't have to hike to parking spots, and could review notes and
tapes on the ride back from assignments.
For example, one
reporter used cabs to go to political debates - ordering the return
cab in advance so that he wouldn't have to wait to return to the newsroom,
wasting valuable deadline minutes.
Schick, the Guild
administrator, said that Guild members should keep records of what they
are being told about transportation issues.
Guild members who
run into transportation problems because of limitations placed on cab
use by the Company should discuss them with their supervisors. Employees
are not required to use their own money for company-related expenses.
However, if you do, it is recommended that advance authorization be
obtained before you dip into your own pockets.
The Guild is looking into possible contract and other legal violations by the company in regard to the incident.
TNG/CWA Local 31041
270 Westmister St., Providence, Rhode Island 02903
401-421-9466 | Fax: 401-421-9495