Hearst shifts to an even slower gear — reverse — in talks Thursday

Bargaining Bulletin #7
San Francisco Chronicle Unit

Guild negotiators offered Hearst Corp. a new proposal Thursday to resolve our controversy over health care financing. We said we would simply agree to lock in the current contract commitment and shift further debate about health care to where it belongs: our jointly run health plan board of trustees.

Hearst’s New York attorneys said no.

Only the day before, the company’s lawyers explicitly stated they would commit to the current contract provision – Article XIV – and its obligation that the company pay $148 a week per employee to cover members and families through the joint trust. But no sooner than we offered to accept that deal and move on to discussing pay and other key matters, Hearst reneged.

We told Hearst’s attorneys from New York that we intend to hold the Company to its commitments and duty to negotiate in good faith.

Our goal is to settle the contract and give the trustees of the Health & Welfare Trust as much time as possible to plan for the coming year. The trustees will meet Tuesday. The agenda will include decisions on our costs and benefits for 2013.

Besides our health care priority, the Guild is proposing 12 percent higher pay over three years.

The company has said it is deferring any pay proposal until we reach agreement on health care costs. But as soon as the Guild offered to agree to Article XIV as it now reads, the Company backtracked, refused to sign the agreement we put across the table and gave no alternative for us to consider. We have filed one unfair labor practice charge already with the National Labor Relations Board and will be reviewing our options with legal counsel.

Our health plan is running a $110,000 monthly deficit, which must be bridged somehow.  However, we still have $1.5 million in reserve.

On Thursday, we began discussing reforms in the advertising department and anniversary pay increases for Go Team reporters. Talks are scheduled to resume Sept. 27.

Representing the Guild:
Michael Cabanatuan, Jon Ferguson, Autumn Grace, Matthai Kuruvila, Carl Hall, and Kat Anderson.
Barbara Jaramillo, from editorial, observed.

Representing the management:
Carolene Eaddy and Aryn Sobo, Hearst counsel; Cathy Rommelfanger, HR; Suzy Cain, chief financial officer.

Author Image
Michael Applegate

Pacific Media Workers Executive Officer