DFM management proposed Wednesday to merge the separate San Jose and East Bay Guild bargaining units under one consolidated contract that would include all digital employees, who are not currently represented by the Guild. At the same time, DFM management sought to withdraw Guild representation from non-newsroom employees at the San Jose Mercury News who are now currently in the unit, including those who work in advertising and finance.
Wednesday’s meeting, conducted at the Guild’s local offices in San Francisco, was scheduled at the request of management on an exploratory basis. That means the talks are voluntary and either side can walk away and resume regular negotiations for our two separate San Jose and East Bay bargaining units.
In response to today’s proposal, our joint San Jose-East Bay bargaining committee said we would not agree to give up representation of non-newsroom employees in San Jose. With that understanding, we agreed to hold a second bargaining session to further explore their concept of a consolidated contract, with more details such as the number of employees affected. That meeting is now scheduled for Jan. 15, 2016, at the Guild office in San Francisco.
Your Guild committees also stated, however, that the need to address economics is urgent, and we don’t want these exploratory discussions to delay our pending proposals for long-overdue wage increases for the employees we represent.
DFM management did not present too many specifics on Wednesday, but instead outlined a series of goals the company would want to achieve in creating one contract. Some of those goals include the following:
- Redefining newsroom structure into two sections: print and digital.
- “Normalizing” benefits across the two contracts.
- Greater flexibility to assign work locations and work assignments.
- Right to use freelancers and to outsource work.
- Creating a different wage structure.
- “Flexible scheduling” to accommodate demands of breaking news.
Your Guild representatives at the Dec. 9, 2015 session included: Carl Hall, Guild executive officer; Kat Anderson, Guild administrative officer; Darren Carroll, international representative; Karen de Sá, Mercury News unit co-chair; Karl Mondon, Mercury News bargaining committee representative, and George Kelly, East Bay unit chair.
Management was represented by: General Counsel Marshall Anstandig; human resources managers Shannon Hogan and Karen Austin; and MediaNews Group senior vice president of human resources from Denver, Missy Miller.