ASL unit in Denver fights for contract talks in Denver

Sept. 27, 2018                                                                                                                                                    ASLIU Bargaining Bulletin

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – Union leaders representing the Denver Call Center served notice on Purple/ZVRS management this week of our intention to move our ongoing talks for a new labor agreement to Denver. The company — recently found guilty of multiple violations of federal labor law — threatened to file even more time-consuming legal appeals to keep that from happening.

Two days of contract talks ended Wednesday with no agreement. Management offered a revised comprehensive proposal that included a long list of takeaways and a token pay raise — a take-it-or-leave it offer that fell far short of what we have been seeking.

The Denver Call Center is the only unionized Purple/ZVRS worksite left after last year’s merger and consolidation. The company, which is now based in Clearwater, Fla., shut down three other organized call centers last year, laying off dozens of workers and leaving no union members anywhere near California.

As part of the shutdown agreement, management and we agreed to keep talks going in San Francisco, headquarters of Local 39521. At the same time, we agreed to conduct other labor-management meetings in Denver, along with special training overseen by federal mediators intended to improve our collective bargaining relationship. Management reneged on the Denver meetings.

At the start of this week’s bargaining, Local 39521 Executive Officer Carl Hall announced that he is taking a six-month leave of absence. He has assigned the role of chief spokesperson for ASLIU to Tony Mulligan, administrative officer of the Denver Newspaper Guild, who has been participating in the contract talks for several months. Mulligan will take over as chief spokesperson for the Denver workers. Our members and rank-and-file leaders in Denver have expressed their support as well.

The San Francisco and Denver locals plan to begin the legal steps necessary to make the Denver ASLIU bargaining unit a formal affiliate of the Denver local. We told the management that we intend to meet for the next round of talks — scheduled for Nov. 13 and 14 —close to the workforce.

Management threatened to try to block this logical step, even to the point of asking the National Labor Relations Board to intervene. On August 3, after a lengthy trial in three states, Administrative Law Judge Mara-Louise Anzalone of the NLRB issued a devastating 113-page decision finding Purple/ZVRS guilty of repeatedly trampling employee rights.

As for the contract talks, your union team made it clear to the company that we expect a fair wage increase to compensate for the loss of bonus programs and the rising cost of living in Denver, while refusing to grant the company’s demand to let it off the hook for its own law-breaking. Management responded with a concession-laden proposal that sunsets next week.

Representing the Guild: Mah-rya Proper (ASLIU unit leader), Denver Guild staff Tony Mulligan, and San Francisco Guild staff Kat Anderson and Carl Hall.

Representing the Company: Fran Cummings, Greg Camp, Mark Hopkins, and Akin Gump lawyers James Crowley and Larry Levien.

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Pacific Media Workers Guild

We are the Pacific Media Workers Guild, Local 39521 of The Newspaper Guild-Communications Workers of America. We represent more than 1,200 journalists and other media workers, interpreters, translators, union staffs and freelancers.