|Vol XIl, Issue 23
||TNG/CWA Local 31041
||April 19, 2001
GUILD ASKS COURT
TO MAKE JOURNAL PAY "ME-TOO" RAISE
Paper's refusal to comply
with arbitrator's decision forces Guild to seek U.S. Court order.
leadership team set
for a new one-year term
Bob Jagolinzer will serve his fourth term as Guild president
as a result of nominations for the union's leadership posts
made yesterday at the quarterly membership meeting.
a reporter in the Journal's Northwest bureau, was secretary
of the union from 1990 to 1998, and has been president since
then. He came to the newspaper in 1969.
number of nominations matched the available posts, meaning
there are no uncontested seats, and therefore, no need for
incumbents agreed to run, and Guild leaders had recruited
candidates for vacancies on the Executive Board and the Unit
to the executive board will be Paul Davis, a reporter in the
South County news bureau. Davis also has been a financial
other incumbent officers are: Jeff Andrade, vice president;
John Hill, secretary; and Greg Smith, treasurer.
on the Executive Board: Tom Bunn, Kerry Kohring, Felice
Freyer, Karen Senerchia, Del St. Jean and Brian Jones.
faces on the Unit Council -- an elected seven-member panel
that works on grievances and other company-management issues
-- include: Ed Fitzpatrick, State House reporter, and
Linda Cox, West Bay news bureau copy editor.
on the unit council: Sheila Lennon, Susan Quackenbush,
Mark Arsenault, Richard Dujardin, and Lisa Helwig.
· Case, filed more than two years ago, would add
1.02 percent to workers' current wages.
After waiting two
months for the company to implement the "me-too" wage boost
won by the Guild in arbitration, the union this week filed a federal lawsuit
to force the newspaper to pay out the award.
|Journal becoming a
An arbitrator last
year awarded the Guild a 1.02 percent boost in current rates - retroactive
to January, 1999 - and two months ago, the arbitrator detailed terms of
But the company has
refused to make the payments, prompting the Guild to file suit in U.S.
District Court, Providence, that asks a judge to order the wage hike.
Although the company is compelled under binding arbitration to obey an
arbitrator's decision, only the courts - not the arbitrator - can enforce
The Guild sees this
as the same kind of behavior that has marked the company's approach to
negotiations for a new contract and has resulted in it being charged with
30 violations of federal labor law.
that the company's intransigence has forced us to have to go to court
to obtain what is rightfully ours," said Tim Schick, the Guild's
"The company's failure to abide by their contractual agreement,"
said Schick, "is another indication that they are, at best, becoming
The wage increase
case dates back to Feb. 22, 1999, when the Guild first filed
a grievance, meaning that the issue is now more than two years old.
Having to go to court
simply drags out the matter - at a price to the bargaining unit's 500
men and women, who have gone without any pay hike since Jan. 1, 1999,
because of the drawn-out negotiations for a new contract.
The Guild estimates
that the raise will put an extra $5 to $10 into workers' pockets (before
taxes) every week, depending on their current pay grade.
In February, the Guild calculated that, as of that time, the back pay
ordered by the arbitrator would result in lump sum payments of between
$500 and $1,200.
The origins of the
case are these:
· The Guild's contract provided a 2 percent raise in 1999
over the previous year's wages.
· The contract also said the Guild would get pay raises
equivalent to those of other unions, namely the Pressmen and the Teamsters.
This is the so-called "me-too" clause of the contract.
· Finally, under the Guild's the Gainsharing bonus program,
bargaining unit members were entitled an extra 1 percentage point tacked
onto pay rates if the newspaper's financial performance hit targets set
by the company.
As it turned out,
Gainsharing was paid that year, and the company set Guild pay rates at
3.02 percent (the extra .02 comes from compounding).
But at the same
time, the other unions got 3.02 percent raises, too. But those other unions
weren't covered by Gainsharing, having switched to another kind of bonus
The Guild argued that
the Guild bargaining unit should have received the 3.02 percent the other
unions received PLUS another 1.02 percent, representing its required Gainsharing
July 26, 2000, arbitrator
Gary D. Altman of Brookline, Mass., sided with the Guild, ruling the Guild
was due the full raise, and that "the amount of money under the Gainsharing
program must be 'in addition' to this general pay increase."
This seemed straightforward
enough. But the company stretched things out again by refusing to agree
how the money should be paid out - and it actually sought to hold more
But the arbitrator
called instead for written legal arguments, and on Feb. 15, 2001, he agreed
with the Guild that its total wage boost for 1999 should have been 4.0502
from Ellen Liberman
When Guild President Robert Jagolinzer asked me to run for the Executive
Board, I thought, 'Great, another pain in my keister.' But my Guild
involvement turned out to be the most satisfying aspect of my tenure
at the Providence Journal.
Around the fake
wood tabletop in that drab office, I got to know intelligent, compassionate
colleagues whose work ethic and dedication I came to admire. Though
my life as a state staff reporter became unbearably dull as the
years went on, I took comfort in my Guild service. I was trying
to make the workplace better for the 500 employees I helped to represent.
It was in the
Guild that I was given the opportunity to learn institutional dynamics
and to exercise leadership skills. In my interview for the Editor's
position for WRNI's One Union Station, I cited my union work on
the board and in the Follies as management experience.
In nearly three
years as an Executive Board member, I've heard my share of criticisms
and complaints. Some were well-founded and deserved. Others stem
from an honest difference of opinion. But a good deal of it is born
out of ignorance. And that's too bad. Tim Schick, the Executive
Board, the Unit Council and a handful of activists, work very hard
to protect the quality of life and the quality of work that our
contracts have brought us. They are more knowledgeable and reasoned
than many of you know.
taking back some control from a corporation indifferent to anything
but its stock price. Get active in the Guild. I used to be one of
the complainers. 'Why don't those people do something?' I would
grouse. Well, they are doing lots of things. But they can't do it
alone. Our buttons may be a garish color and the slogan trite, but
it's true: We are the union.
Best of luck
to all of you,
Copyright © 2000 The Providence
TNG/CWA Local 31041
270 Westmister St., Providence, Rhode Island 02903
401-421-9466 | Fax: 401-421-9495