JOURNAL - GUILD FORUM PROPOSED; DARRELL WEST
Would you like
to go to a forum where Guild and company spokespersons explain their views
of the current contract negotiations - and answer any questions you might
That's exactly the
kind of forum the Guild has proposed.
In a letter to Howard
G. Sutton, publisher of The Providence Journal, the Guild this week suggested
such a session, which would be held at a neutral site, and moderated by
a respected member of the community.
Darrell M. West, a
Brown University political science professor, who is well known both within
and outside of Rhode Island for his broad understanding of public issues,
has agreed to serve as the moderator.
West's only condition:
that the forum be exactly that, and that both sides agree to take part.
He said he won't participate in a so-called "empty chair" sham
session, featuring only one side.
The idea is a novel
one. Labor negotiations usually are conducted by lawyers and other professionals,
in sessions that are often piecemeal, technical and hard to follow.
The kind of forum being suggested would allow an audience to listen to
the issues in their overall context, and hopefully, in plain language.
The Guild's plan was
suggested by a rank-and-file union member who said that he wanted to hear
what both sides have to say on the many issues involving negotiations,
with a chance for him to ask questions and compare the answers.
While the Guild has
worked to explain its view of the bargaining, which began in October,
1999, the executive board believes that members would benefit from hearing
both versions, first-hand.
The Guild outlined
the proposal in a letter hand-delivered to Mr. Sutton's office Monday,
"We propose that
the Guild and the company jointly sponsor this forum,splitting the costs
of the hall and other expenses, and that we meet soon to discuss suitable
ground rules. We trust that such a forum, conducted respectfully and
openly, will inform both sides and help lead to a settlement of our differences,"
said the letter, signed by Bob Jagolinzer, Guild president.
West is director of Brown University's Taubman Center for Public Policy; and John Hazen White Sr., professor of political science and public policy. He is often quoted in the Journal and by national media, and has conducted opinion polls for the newspaper.
TNG/CWA Local 31041
270 Westmister St., Providence, Rhode Island 02903
401-421-9466 | Fax: 401-421-9495