Welcome to new hires Lynda Black, an online coordinator who likes making margaritas; Zack Sicking, an online coordinator who likes playing disc golf; and web developer Alicia Pearse, who says she is “drawn to alien-based conspiracy theories.” It was not clear whether Alicia will be investigating the not-disproven theory that Chronicle editors are alien-based.
After a backward move, a sideways shuffle and a marathon song and dance, contract negotiations ended up Tuesday without achieving much harmony. Still, we made some progress. We refocused the bargaining on our key priorities: reasonable salary increases, equitable pay, a 401(k) match, and no loss of sick leave or other benefits already in our contract.
Bargaining has begun at all four McClatchy California units (The Modesto Bee, The Fresno Bee, The Sacramento Bee and News Desk West). Negotiations took place in all three cities last week. The Guild is emphasizing coordination on the behalf of all the McClatchy units.
Guild executive officer Carl Hall has written to the management of Mexico City daily, La Jornada, protesting firings and union busting. After a short strike last June, the paper’s director, Tania Paulina Olmos, fired the leaders of its union. As of the date of the letter, nine officers and activists have been terminated, and they accuse Olmos of tearing up their union contract.
After a year of stonewalling, Hearst Corp. finally agreed at the outset of a hearing before the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Tuesday to provide the Guild access to documents needed to investigate a suspected pattern of discriminatory pay practices skewed against women, people of color and older workers. The Chronicle is one of many newspapers where employees suspect inequities in compensation.
After getting the antagonism out of the way in the first day of bargaining, on Wednesday, Oct. 25, we got down to business with discussions of 401(k), sick leave and the details of family leave laws in the context of the company’s proposed short-term disability plan. We did not discuss salary increases, and management hasn’t made an offer. Our proposal seeks 5 percent annual raises during a three-year contract.
The company wants to abandon annual cost-of-living pay raises and discontinue experience-based step increases. Any future raises would be entirely based on management whim — the same discretionary system that now governs overscale merit raises, which has led to allegations of pay inequities tied to sex, race and age.
While the union proposal seeks improvement of the labor contract that recently expired, leaving many provisions unchanged but seeking better compensation terms and clarity on certain working conditions and performance standards, the management proposal was practically a complete re-write.
NAFTA negotiators can establish sanctions against countries that don’t at least try to make it safe for journalists – and other workers – to do their jobs.
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