The company and union reached tentative agreement on a few items Dec. 16, leaving wage scales, furlough days, a lower pay scale for new newsroom employees, lower vacation accrual for new employees, health insurance premium share, cash-out of unused vacation, sick leave, short term disability, rehiring rights when laid off and mileage reimbursement to be resolved.
The company and union swapped “package proposals” covering all outstanding items. A package proposal means that everything in the proposal must be accepted or the entire proposal is rejected. The party receiving the proposal can’t accept some of the provisions included in the proposal and reject others. Theoretically, package proposals allow the proposing party to make bigger moves on tough provisions because if the package is rejected, the proposing party can back out of the move they made.
In the last package proposals presented, the company and union were close to agreement on all provisions except wages and furlough days.
The company’s last offer provided for reducing furlough days from 12 to three per year and reducing hourly pay rates by 3.5 percent, the approximate value of the nine furlough days eliminated. Under the proposal, hourly pay would go down but employees’ annual pay would remain unchanged because they would be paid for nine additional days worked per year.
The union’s last offer provided for reducing furlough days from 12 to six and reducing hourly pay rates by 1.15 percent, the approximate value of three of six furlough days eliminated. Under the proposal, hourly pay would go down but employees’ annual pay would increase by 1.15 percent because they would be paid for six additional days worked per year and the pay reduction was equal to three days pay.
Management again explained that the elimination of furlough days is necessary to have employees available to complete the needed work, but the company isn’t in a position to spend additional money. Revenue continues to drop, funding the pension plans for termination and lump-sum payouts will cost more than originally anticipated and expensive repairs are needed on press and mailroom equipment.
The union committee again explained that employees have given a lot and are giving up more in these negotiations, but reducing hourly pay and basically working for free on eliminated furlough days is more than should be asked of the staff.
The next bargaining session is scheduled for Friday, Dec. 20.
The union bargaining committee needs your input on the remaining bargaining subjects. Please contact or email a committee member and share your thoughts. You can call Tony Mulligan at 303-956-1255 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The union’s bargaining team includes Marge Strescino, Jeff Letofsky, Gayle Perez and Tony Mulligan.
The company’s bargaining team includes Ray Stafford, Steve Henson, Martha Eller, Brianna Ferran, Phil Ruegg and Chad Orvis.