Press Democrat offers anemic pay increase while demanding more for health care

Bargaining bulletin #5

Management filled in some important blanks in its contract proposal Wednesday, offering the first real economic terms since talks began.

The Guild has been demanding a 5 percent across the board pay increase, more money for 401k plans and a cap on runaway health care costs.

Until Wednesday, management was offering only to tie any increases in pay for Guild-covered employees to whatever raise non-union employees might be granted, without specifying a number. Even those raises would only be granted if employees achieved a certain score on performance reviews.

Management is now proposing a 1 percent annual pay increase for employees who meet acceptable performance standards. Health care costs would remain the same for 2016, but by 2017, more of the financial burden would shift to employees and eventually there would be no cap on the employee share at all.

Our current contract caps employees’ share of health costs at 30 percent.

Management proposed modest increases in 401k contributions. The old contract provided for $1 an hour contribution, which the Guild proposed increasing to $2 an hour.  On Wednesday, management proposed increasing it to $1.20 an hour by the third year of the proposed new terms.

Bargainers exchanged proposals on other issues including sick pay, vacation and severance, but no agreements were reached. Management has proposed to slash severance from a maximum 26 weeks’ pay to only 12, while eliminating the no-layoff provision in the existing contract. The company also seeks to reduce sick leave accrual from the current two weeks per year to one week.

Bargaining is set to resume on March 3 at the Rohnert Park production plant.

Representing the Guild were Carl Hall, Chris Chung and Derek Moore

Representing management were Troy Niday, Sam Caddle, Ted Appel and Emily DeBacker


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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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