Vol XIV, Issue 12 TNG/CWA Local 31041 June 17, 2003

Guild asks company to bargain
Member survey is mailed; rally set for tomorrow

June 18
Outside the Journal building

Two people running for Guild president

For the first time since 1990, Guild members face a contested election for president. John Hill and Kerry Kohring, two people with long histories of service to the Guild, are both running to fill the position held by the late Bob Jagolinzer.

Ballots are being mailed this week, and must be returned to the Guild's post office box by July 3.

The Guild has asked the company to return to the bargaining table, mailed a survey to members about their contract priorities, and begun planning actions to pressure the company to resume negotiations.

Immediately after the vote rejecting the contract was tallied on Thursday, Guild Administrator Tim Schick sent a letter to Human Resources Director Tom McDonough reporting the vote and saying the Guild is ready to resume bargaining immediately.

"We believe that several discrete changes and improvements in the company's last offer would result in an agreement we could all accept," Schick wrote.

The company has not responded.

Yesterday, the Guild Executive Committee agreed to survey members about the changes to the company's last proposal that will be most important to them in negotiating a better contract. The survey has been mailed to members' homes, and members are urged to return it by Monday to provide guidance to the bargaining committee.

Additionally, the Executive Committee has scheduled a rally for tomorrow outside the Journal building from 12:15 to 12:45 p.m. The rally's purpose is to show the company that we stand together in our desire for a fair contract and want to work out an acceptable deal as quickly as possible.

John Hill
John Hill, 46, of Cranston, has been Guild secretary since 1997. He is bureau manager of the Lincoln news office.

Active in many Guild mobilization efforts, Hill ran the get-out-the-vote efforts for the

contract votes in 2000 and this year. He has also worked to recruit new members and to find out how the Guild can be of service to members in many different departments.

"It's that kind of work we have to concentrate on over the next few years,'' Hill says. "We have spent enough time hoping others outside the building will help us win

our battles. It's time we started doing things ourselves."

Hill says that, as president, he would reach out to members throughout the company, and also recruit leaders and liaisons among them, to make sure the Guild represents all of its diverse membership.

"One of the things I pride myself on is my ability to get along with people

who disagree with me,'' Hill says. "I've worked under four different supervisors in my career in the Journal's state bureau system. In that time I've been able to speak out

for individual members and the organization without starting fights.

"I was as strong a 'no' vote as there was in this past contract vote, but if you ask people on the 'yes' side with whom I debated it, you'll find them ready to vote for me. You can count on me to push for a fair deal for you and to know one when it's offered."

Kerry Kohring
Kerry Kohring, 59, of Providence, has served on the Guild Executive Committee since 1995. He is the section editor for the financial pages.

Kohring served on the negotiating committee in the 1996-97 contract talks, and is on the current negotiating committee as well. He spoke at the Belo shareholders' meeting in Dallas in 2001, 2002 and 2003, urging the company to settle a contract with the Guild.

Kohring has been active in local and national Guild affairs, serving as delegate to the Guild national convention in 2001 and 2003, and participating in the New England District Council for several years.

Kohring has represented individuals at disciplinary hearings, testified at a job-classification hearing and participated in several grievance hearings. He helps produce the Guild Leader and took charge of its daily distribution during the NLRB trial. A participant in many Guild rallies, marches and coffee hours, he starred as the Tin Man at a Westin Hotel rally protesting a "Golden Heart" award to Howard Sutton.

"I believe I can bring to the office reasoned and compassionate dedication, tempered by aggressive determination when needed,'' Kohring says. "I care deeply for the rights and opportunities of individual Guild members as well as the collective power and protections of the organization. I believe that we can continue to work together - despite our occasional bickering - to oppose corporate attempts to steal our just compensation and trample our dignity.

"We can and we will prevail, because it is morally right that we should."

Copyright © 2002 The Providence Newspaper Guild
TNG/CWA Local 31041
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