McClatchy announces merit pool and Bob Ford’s retirement


The guild and company returned to the table to continue full contract negotiations Thursday. The current contract expires Dec. 31. All areas of the contract are open during this time including wages, benefits, expenses, schedules, job functions and severance pay.

Meeting for the guild was Executive Officer Carl Hall, Administrative Officer Kat Anderson, Modesto Unit Chair Marijke Rowland and Bee reporter Joanne Sbranti. At the table for the company was McClatchy attorney Bob Ford, his successor Aaron Agenbroad, Editor Joe Kieta and VP of Human Resources Cathy Allison.

Both the guild and company discussed the top priorities in their proposals in an attempt to get closer to an agreement. The company also disclosed their merit pool proposal at 2 percent, the same as in 2013 the last time there was a merit pool.

Both sides laid out their top issues, while not taking any proposals off the table.

For the guild the priorities were:

Severance: Increase severance back up to 40 weeks from the current 26 weeks.

Furloughs: Introduce proposal that allows for voluntary furloughs, which would take the place of mandatory furloughs for all guild-covered editorial employees.

Mileage: Return the mileage rate to the IRS rate instead of the lower company-set rate.

For the company the priorities were:

Furloughs: Create right to furloughs, though not necessarily at the initially proposed rate of six in the three-year period.

Job Duties: Ability to assign any kind of work (photography, writing, etc) to any unit employee and then evaluate them on the quality of this work. Right now they can assign non-job specific work, but cannot judge senior employees for quality of work they were not hired to do.

Clean-Up: Create uniformity and streamline some language in the contract (though specific areas were not explicitly laid out).

The company also clarified that its previous split-shift proposal would be for up to three employees per work schedule.

The company agreed to come back with a full written proposal at the next session addressing its previous proposals and the guild’s proposals. This meeting was also the final bargaining session in Modesto for long-time company attorney Ford, who is retiring at the end of the year. His successor Agenbroad will take over for him when both sides return to the table Jan. 15.

If you have any questions about either side’s proposals, don’t hesitate to ask.

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Michael Applegate

Pacific Media Workers Executive Officer

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