QUESTION: Why has the Guild rejected the company's offer of free parking, which has been a long-time goal of the union?
ANSWER: The Guild
did not reject free parking. It rejected removal of parking from the
The company can
stop charging us for parking right this minute, and the Guild will cheer.
Nothing the Guild
has done or said prevents this. Indeed, if the company were honoring
the contract we now have in place, we would all have free parking today.
The company didn't
offer us a new parking benefit.
The company asked
us to give something up - namely, the clauses in our contract that address
parking. (The company went ahead and illegally revoked all of these
clauses in January 2000. The NLRB has charged the Journal violated the
law by doing this.)
The clauses provided the following:
It's not much of
a parking benefit, but it's in writing.
The company proposed
that we eliminate these clauses. In their place, there would be nothing.
What the company has offered is free parking, or bus passes -- on the condition they can eliminate or change it whenever they want.
The Company program also does not cover part-timers who work less than 22.5 hours a week, or irregular extras -- people who could previously use the coupons.
is what the company's proposed unwritten parking benefit might be. It
has refused to provide any details.
The company has refused to say whether there are enough parking spaces for all Guild members (seems unlikely), and how it would go about choosing which Guild members get spaces.
The company has refused to say how long the free parking would last and where Guild members would park once it's withdrawn.
It's clear that accepting the company's "offer" would give us something worse than what we have now.
Even with "free parking," people who now pay subsidized rates for guaranteed spots in the garage or the lot could find the gates barred when those facilities fill up each morning. (This is what already happened to coupon-users.) And if the company sells any of its lots, that situation would get worse.
We have been told
by the union representing employees at the Biltmore Hotel that its management
is seeking to purchase the lot next to the Parkade. We have asked the
Journal for details and they have refused to respond.
If company officials
sincerely intended to offer free parking for any length of time, they
wouldn't be afraid to put it in writing.
The Guild is not
the only union that turned down the company's parking offer. The Pressmen's
union rejected it too. They told the company that because they work
at the production facility they already have free parking, and they
had no desire to give the company the unilateral right to eliminate
or modify their parking benefits.
our current contract, which is still legally in force, the company is
required to allow Guild members to use the Fountain Street lot under
the same terms and conditions as other employees.
The company's decision to let nonunion workers park there for free while continuing to charge Guild members is yet another violation of the contract and the law.
TNG/CWA Local 31041
270 Westmister St., Providence, Rhode Island 02903
401-421-9466 | Fax: 401-421-9495