Talks to combine East Bay and Merc units suspended until company offers pay increase

Members of Guild bargaining committees from San Jose and the East Bay met for a third time with Company management today to discuss the company’s proposal to merge our two contracts.

We opted to suspend these talks and return to bargaining each contract separately.  Once again, the Company had no pay proposal for workers who would be covered by the merged contract, and the Company also continued to propose that advertising employees would lose union protection.

The Mercury News talks will resume at a later date with the Guild seeking the Company’s response to our initial proposal for a 5% raise and other gains under a three-year wage agreement.

The East Bay will present a revised agreement including the same 5% general pay increase proposed in San Jose.  No bargaining date has been scheduled.

In the interim, the Guild proposed Wednesday that the Company grant an immediate pay raise of 3% for all BANG union-represented employees, retroactive to Feb. 15, 2016. That is the date when non-union represented employees at the Mercury News and across the country received across-the-board raises from DFM. 

Management said it would respond to that proposal at a later date.

On Wednesday, we also got answers to some of your questions on yesterday’s buyout and layoff announcement. We learned the following additional information:

  • The list of 30 buy-out eligible employees who are age 60 or older and have at least 20 years’ tenure is roughly 2/3 East Bay employees and 1/3 Mercury News employees.
  • The Company cited no specific business reason for limiting the buyout offer to employees who are 60 or older.  The Company had no response when we asked whether it had considered impacts on diversity in staffing when setting the parameters of the buy-out plan. It is described as based on a model used in the past in Denver.
  • The Company had no specifics on possible new hiring under the digital initiatives that are under way, but agreed to make efforts to ensure current employees at risk of job loss would have a chance to learn of and apply for those new jobs.  We requested a list of all current vacancies that the company intends to fill.
  • The Company said that the merger of the mastheads also would result in the closure of the Hayward printing plant, eliminating 10 pressroom and plate-making jobs there.
  • Beyond the layoffs and buyouts in the San Jose and East Bay newsrooms, and the job cuts at the Hayward printing plant, there are no cuts expected in management or in other departments, including advertising.

We hope this update is of assistance. Please continue to send questions and concerns our way.

Information on our national media workers campaign for raises is continually being updated. Stay in touch through regular visits to:  (#newsmatters)

Your union representatives today included: Kat Anderson, Darren Carroll and Carl Hall from the Guild, and Karen de Sá, Karl Mondon and Danny Willis from the Mercury News and BANG units. The Company was represented by Marshall Anstandig, Missy Miller, Shannon Hogan and Karen Austin.

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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.

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