Bay Area News Group management has nothing new to say


Your Guild bargaining unit offered a new approach Thursday on some of the core issues in our negotiations for a new labor agreement with the Bay Area News Group.

Worker safety in the violence-plagued streets of Oakland, experience-based pay scales, leaves of absence, and guidelines for using Internet and social media were among the main issues in a new proposal the Guild presented.

Management had no immediate detailed response, but said they would study the proposal and reply when next we meet on August 27 at 10 am in Pleasanton. (We encourage anyone interested in sitting in to do so.)

Contract talks have gained new momentum as frustrations mount over the continuing lack of parity between the journalism and support staff in the East Bay bargaining unit and our counterparts at the San Jose Mercury News. Separate talks are under way in San Jose.

The Guild negotiating committee presented a pay proposal that reflects the Mercury News’ current scale but with raises of 2.5% over the next two years, effective immediately up ratification.

We also presented a new provision designed to replace current contract language on appropriate use of Facebook, Twitter and other social media, emphasizing training, no free work and fair treatment when potential discipline cases arise. The Guild proposed an Internet and Social Media committee comprised of union and management representatives to come up with reasonable approaches in this time of rapid change in the digital environment.

The Guild offered a more comprehensive Health and Safety proposal responsive to the recent violence committed against journalists covering street protests.  The proposal offers hazard duty pay, guarantees reimbursement for lost/damaged property, and creates a Joint Management-Labor Committee to address concerns as they arise.

The Guild offered improvements in leaves of absence for working parents, and others who need time off the job – such provisions being on par with what is currently in the Mercury News contract.

We also proposed a much improved byline and “employee integrity” provision to protect against improper changes in our work and bar any improper assignment.

We reached no new agreements, but are optimistic that with continued good faith, an agreement can be reached that improves upon our basic terms and conditions.

Present for management: Marshall Anstandig and Andy Huntington.

Present for the Guild:  George Kelly, Daniel Willis, Kat Anderson and Carl Hall (staff).

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Michael Applegate

Pacific Media Workers Executive Officer