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Why are you withdrawing your proposal?

Bargaining Bulletin #9
San Francisco Chronicle Unit

Hearst Corp’s pay proposal turned out to have the shelf life of a flounder on a sidewalk on a sunny day in San Jose.

On Thursday, Hearst lawyers offered a pay raise of 1.5% in each year of a three-year contract, effective July 1, 2012, 2013 and 2014.

On Friday, they withdrew that proposal. Instead of a three-year deal, the company said it was leaving the contract term open. So the raises also got vague.

Asked to explain why they were withdrawing their proposal made just the day before, the management representatives kept repeating non-answers. They got testy when we persisted. After a 20-minute song and dance, Hearst lawyer Aryn Sobo finally said: “We don’t have to tell you why we’re withdrawing it.”

We believe they owe us real proposals, and once they make a proposal, we believe we have a right to respond without their proposal suddenly disappearing, bait-and-switch fashion. We let the management catch a glimpse of our unhappiness with their conduct.

We continue to push ahead toward a settlement – the survival of our health care program is at stake. But it has become impossible to get a grip on the issues because the Hearst lawyers keep delaying or canceling meetings, show up with no proposals, and then when they do submit an offer, immediately withdraw a key part of it before we have a chance to respond.

The Guild had prepared a new comprehensive proposal Friday, which we had intended to offer in response to the proposed three-year contract terms the Company put on the table Thursday. But we had no choice but to rethink our response after Hearst inexplicably shifted the ground beneath us.

We did reach one key result: At our urging the company agreed to lock in the current weekly contribution it makes into our health plan for the duration of the next agreement. Our goal now is to focus on achieving a pay package large enough to solve the deficit in our health care plan and protect against pay cuts. All other contract terms remain open.

Talks are scheduled to resume Monday at the Guild Building, third floor conference room, 433 Natoma. Members are welcome to observe the talks and we urge everybody to let your colleagues – even our friends in the management – understand how serious we are about reaching a fair settlement.

Guild Bargaining Team: Mike Cabanatuan, Jon Ferguson, Matthai Kuruvila, Autumn Grace, Carl Hall. Kat Anderson, notetaker.

Management: Carolene Eaddy, Aryn Sobo, Cathy Rommelfanger, Suzy Cain.

 

Kat Anderson

Kat Anderson

Pacific Media Workers Guild Administrative Officer/Business Agent, founder of Bay News Rising mentorship program for college journalism students and editor of mediaworkers.org.

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