East Bay BANG Bulletin: August 13, 2012

Guild negotiators met with management Monday in Pleasanton to review some of the major issues blocking progress toward a new labor agreement that elevates East Bay terms to San Jose standards.

Your bargaining committee presented a revised transfer proposal which offers greater flexibility to the management but protects employees from costly forced relocations.  The proposal would allow involuntary transfers only within a 10-mile radius of an employee’s current worksite.  Beyond that distance, the employer and employee would have to agree on reimbursement, including the possibility of a telecommuting plan to reduce the impacts of a move.

The employee representatives also raised a serious issue concerning overtime abuse.  We have been told that many employees in the East Bay are being pressured to work free overtime, which is barred by the contract and is illegal under state wage and hour laws.  More details about this will emerge in the coming weeks.

Vacation scheduling remains a sore point.  Employees in the East Bay are allowed to accrue 1.75 times their annual vacation entitlement and there is no specific vacation scheduling system within the contract.  In past rounds of bargaining, the Guild proposed a vacation scheduling regimen, but management declined at that time.  Now, even without a system, managers are pressuring employees into scheduling vacations way in advance to meet cost-saving goals.  We object to that.

In the discussions Monday, management expressed willingness to consider a new approach to vacation scheduling.  We will be seeking input from our members as to what kind of vacation scheduling system might be acceptable, if we want to propose a change.

Your negotiators also asked the company to explain why it has rejected our proposals to bring the East Bay and South Bay contracts into line on issues including: jurisdiction, split days off, rehire rights, grievance procedures, personal days (birthday/anniversary), and no pay cuts.  We also raised concerns about the shift of work and jobs from the San Jose newsroom to lower-paid East Bay employees.

Bargaining continues, but no date has been set for the next meeting.

Bargaining Committee:

George Kelly

Danny Willis

Rebecca Parr

Carl Hall

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Michael Applegate

Pacific Media Workers Executive Officer