East Bay talks may help set stage for national joint bargaining
June 17, 2016
East Bay Guild Bargaining Bulletin
PLEASANTON — In the first significant conversations since the consolidation of the Bay Area dailies, East Bay Guild representatives met Friday with Digital First Media management to renew contract talks.
The discussion focused on key open issues including pay, expenses and scheduling issues. The Guild gave management a new comprehensive proposal, which seeks major improvements in East Bay terms and a move toward parity with San Jose and other major local contracts.
The East Bay talks may help set the stage for a possible new round of joint talks encompassing all 12 DFM bargaining units across the country. Plans are under discussion to convene these joint talks in Denver early in July. Those talks would include pay and a limited number of non-economic issues from individual worksites.
East Bay members have been frustrated for years by nonsensical disparities and second-rate terms for workers doing essentially the same work as higher-paid colleagues in the increasingly consolidated Bay Area News Group. Efforts to meld the East Bay and Mercury News union contracts have made little progress to date, even as the number of dailies has shrunk to two under one regional management.
Friday’s meeting, convened in Pleasanton, brought no new proposals from the management. The company has offered a 2 percent pay raise and 1 percent merit pool this year, but only if we agree to a concession on vacation scheduling. The Guild is proposing a three-year contract with 5 percent annual pay raises, helping recover some of the ground lost during the last few years.
The management continues to express interest in a single contract covering all its Bay Area editorial operations, but has not yet signaled that this would yield benefits for anyone. The Guild on Friday said a key first step would be to bring up the East Bay money terms while modernizing contract language.
The recent consolidation cost about two dozen jobs in buyouts and layoffs. On Friday, the Guild representatives told the company that schedule changes have posed hardships on many employees, and exacerbated uncertainties — sometimes without enough exploration of alternatives.
No new dates were set pending possible convening of joint discussions in Denver.
Representing the Guild: George Kelly, Kat Anderson and Carl Hall.
Representing management: Shannon Hogan and Marshall Anstandig.