Let's talk some more
We will keep meeting.
That’s the most significant agreement reached Friday in talks between the Guild and Times management.
The company team had been resisting setting more dates beyond Friday, saying it wanted to conclude negotiations sooner rather than later.
Trust us when we say that none of us feel very keen about sitting in the Vancouver Room for hours on end discussing the minutia of our contract. But that’s just what negotiations are about, and we remain committed to working until we’ve reached agreement. We see no reason to rush. Mistakes happen when you rush.
So the company offered to put more dates on the schedule, and for that we are glad. The next two sessions will occur Aug. 4 and Aug. 11.
Also Friday, the Guild decided to drop its bereavement proposal (paid time off for the death of a family member who lived with them) and return to current contract language. We simply didn’t see the point in accepting the company’s proposal to let employees ask for unpaid or vacation time. Employees can already ask for that time, and we figured we could use our time better by moving on to other issues.
Such as vacation. We’re still committed to this issue. The latest proposal adds a fifth week for everybody who has been with the company for seven or more years. All other accrual steps would remain the same. Guild negotiator Darryl Sclater mined some interesting statistics about the proposal. Only 47 percent of the membership (a correction from Friday after Darryl reworked the numbers) would begin accruing that extra week of vacation, while another 14 percent would be eligible in the next two years. He calculates the total cost to the company at 1.07 percent (corrected).
We also introduced a new severance plan, one that was used in the call center outsourcing. The formula goes like this: 1.5 weeks per year of service, a minimum of four weeks a maximum of 26 weeks. We also inserted language that says the company can increase the formula if it wants to.
We look forward to hearing the response from the company on both issues.
Until then, hang tight and keep telling us what you’re thinking. Look for posts in the future listing what we’ve secured in this negotiation and what remains to be done. We’re also going to take another look at salary information and introduce you to the contracts of other unions.
We’d like to hear your stories, particularly, about the financial hardship that a wage freeze would impose on you. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or post anonymously to the blog if you want. Please let us know if we can use your name.
Finally, in response to a few questions we’ve had lately, the terms of the contract continue while we continue to negotiate.
Have a great weekend!