Still negotiating first contract 23 months after voting to join the Guild!
The Pekin Daily Times employees voted October 6, 2008, to have the St. Louis Newspaper Guild as their representative. In January, 2009, bargaining between employees and management for a first contract began. The contract has yet to be fully negotiated, finalized, and ratified.
A Quick Briefing
Unfair Labor Practice Charge Resolved!
During the week of August 23rd, the Guild filed an Unfair Labor Practice charge against Gatehouse Media. Employees and Gatehouse Media had reached numerous tentative agreements (TA's) in the last year of bargaining. TA's are a standard, recognized bargaining process to finalize issues within the bargaining process and move forward within complex negotiations. In June, 2010, Gatehouse Media switched negotiators to Bill Scanlon (who claims a specialty in "union negotiations" in his public profile on "LinkedIn") and he immediately attempted to redact these agreements and we contended bargained in bad faith.
Left to Right: Sharon Harris - Unit Chair, Brandi Riley, Jon Reed, Amy Kamp, and Ed McMenamin at the Peoria Labor Day Picnic.
A National Labor Relations Board charge filed in August by the St. Louis Newspaper Guild TNG-CWA Local 36047 has been resolved. The Guild has withdrawn its Unfair Labor Practices charge against Gatehouse Media if they will meet the following two conditions:
According to the NLRB agent working on our behalf, the company has agreed to both conditions but has not admitted any wrongdoing in the matter.
This is a victory! Our hard work with the community support cards and the legal work by the Guild paid off. Gatehouse Media redacted its regressive proposals. The membership ought to be proud that the multi-pronged pressure on the company resulted in a favorable outcome and we hope it will lead to more productive bargaining in the near future.
The unit and local leadership wishes to thank those who are participating in the "stop Gatehouse's Unfair Labor Practices" card campaign. We already have received more than 1,000 cards and more arrive daily. Pekin Daily Times employees recently spoke to the membership of the UAW-974 at its monthly union meeting. UAW Local President Dave Chapman pledged that his members will do all they can to help our cause. The UAW has invited us to more functions so that their membership may sign more cards. We are approaching other unions to speak to their memberships in the coming days and weeks to expand the card campaign. In addition to involving other unions, we have reached out at local events and to community organizations. We are now receiving support from employees at other businesses in the community. Numerous Pekin Daily Times employees have participated in the card campaign and their time and hard work has been the center of this organizing effort.
The next negotiating sessions have been set for mid-October.
Following a course of events that can only be classified as “regressive bargaining” the Guild filed charges last week with the National Labor Relations Board against the Pekin Daily Times.
Members in our Pekin unit – who successfully organized and voted to join the Guild in October of 2008 and who have been engaged in bargaining their first contract since then – have worked tirelessly alongside Sector Rep Jay Schmitz getting a number of issues signed off at the bargaining table.
They were down to only a few remaining items when Gatehouse Vice President Scott Champion left the company. At that point his replacement at the bargaining table, Bill Scanlon, entered the picture and proceeded to present proposals that went directly against issues that had already settled by the parties.
When we pointed out that what Scanlon had proposed dealt with issues that we already had TA’ed (settled as ‘tentative agreements’). His reply was to define ‘tentative’ as something akin to not final. For the record, collective bargaining involves many issues, proposals, positions and stands and deals with a lot of back and forth. The only way to move the process forward is to “TA” items as they arise and are settled. When this happens, both sides sign and date the tentative agreement. When all issues are resolved, the contract is complete and it is presented to the membership for a vote.
Walking away from a TA that has a date and signatures on it is bad faith bargaining of the worst kind and so we filed an Unfair Labor Practice charge. What happens next is that the NLRB will conduct an investigation and issue a decision.
Saturday, August 28, members of our Pekin Daily Times elected Jon Reed as the unit's Secretary-Treasurer. Jon is a graphic designer and began working for the PDT in November of 2003. Jon has been active with the union from the outset and his election provides continuity to a group of officers that includes Unit Chair Sharon Harris and Vice Chair Amy Kamp. Following nominations a mobilization meeting was held. Members were briefed on the current state of negotiations and were walked through the process involving a ULP. Strategy and available courses of action were also analyzed and discussed.