Mercury News unit kicks off talks with one demand: more pay


Your San Jose unit bargaining committee met today with Company management for the first in our latest round of contract talks. Our current contract expires Sept. 30, and these talks come very quickly after our last round of bargaining.

As you may recall, the Guild bargained briefly earlier this year with the Company, with both sides agreeing to a three-month contract extension. Members voted overwhelmingly for the extension. This agreement was reached because the Company had put itself up for sale, and it appeared to all that a new owner was imminent.

Now that the sale has fallen through, we are back to the table.

Our message this time around is clear, narrow and unwavering: We want across-the-board pay increases. Although there are other issues we will present and fight for, we will kick off this round of talks with the need for pay raises for everyone as our main demand. The specifics of our economic proposal will be presented to the Company at our next meeting on Sept. 23.

There are no arguments the Company has presented thus far that dissuade us from this pay increase demand. In fact, in an email message sent July 6, Digital First Media CEO Steve Rossi informed employees the Company had “exceeded our profit goals for the year,” and he expected profit-sharing and merit salary increases in January, “if performance remains on track.”

On Tuesday we reminded Company representatives, yet again, that we have not had across-the-board raises since 2008. We took a 9 percent pay cut, and have struggled with multiple furlough days and rising health care costs each year. Almost one quarter of the newsroom staff has left voluntarily in the recent past, many – if not most – because of economic reasons.

Finally, the Company informed us today that, by the end of October, it will be presenting us with a new business plan or strategy. This plan was not defined in any specific way. We know this may raise a lot of questions, but the Company was unable to give us any details on what the plans for the future may look like, other than to state that it expected to reveal more “in the next 60 days.” Some consolidation attempts were mentioned, but only in passing. We will keep you informed as we receive more information on these apparently developing plans.

Your Guild bargaining committee now includes Karen de Så, Lisa Krieger, Karl Mondon and Karen D’Souza. The Guild leaders who we are working with include Darren Carroll, Carl Hall and Kat Anderson.

The Company was represented Tuesday by general counsel Marshall Anstandig and Human Resources director Shannon Hogan.

As always, we will keep you informed after each of our bargaining sessions.

Please respond to this email if you have any input or feedback to provide to your bargaining committee members.

-Karen, Lisa, Karl and Karen

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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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