MANAGEMENT AND NEWSROOM Guild representatives met Thursday morning in the opening session of collective bargaining. It will not be feasible to give complete details of everything we discuss during bargaining, but here is an overview of what we talked about today.
Both sides agreed to use a collaborative bargaining process. This would be similar to what we used for our current contract. It allows us to concentrate on solutions rather than intractable positions.
The company opened by identifying three key areas they would like to explore including:
- Flexibility allowing the company to adjust newsroom operations during the contract period
- The local pension plan and 401(k)
- The role of seniority in the layoff process
The union presented a list of issues, including:
- YourHub wage scales and opportunities
- Fully unionizing the newsroom
- Evolution of our jobs including assignments, tools, training and time
Both sides indicated there are additional issues they would like to discuss.
We are scheduled to meet again Friday morning.
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A couple of areas that will no doubt come up, so apologies if these are already on the list:
As employees both desire and feel pressure to expand their digital work and presence, through Facebook, Twitter, DPO, etc., we are fast becoming not just a 24-hour operation, but 24-hour employees. Am I working overtime when I Tweet my stories from home to make sure they get seen? Do supervisors expect us to be at our desk filing breaking news 9 hours a day, and then available to do the same for 12 more hours at home?
And as we expand sources of revenue, what are the rights and responsibilities associated with things like e-books and other projets? Will employees share in the new revenue? Are they expected to work on those projects on their own time, or on company time? Do employees have the right to use material generated during work hours to seek personal opportunities in e-books or other formats, if the company is not interested in producing those themselves?
No tweeting for work should be done off the clock. It’s difficult enough to separate your work and personal schedule sometimes, without melding social media.