Purple Communications Bargaining Update #10

The Guild's newest members from Purple Communications are American Sign Language Interpreters from Arizona, California and Colorado. They began talks with management Tuesday.
The Guild’s newest members from Purple Communications are American Sign Language Interpreters from Arizona, California and Colorado.

SAN DIEGO _ Negotiations between the union and Purple Communications stalled this week over the issue of whether management-mandated meetings and unexpected work interruptions, like system crashes and power failures, should count against an employee’s log-in time and other performance standards.

The stage for the disagreement was set the previous week when the company announced at its non-union centers that it was changing the current policy to one that would not count some management meetings in the performance standards. In its announcement, the company said the same change would have to be negotiated in union centers.

The company’s move was an obvious response to a proposal to remove management meetings and the like from the performance standards requirements, which the union has had on the table since these negotiations began. While the union committee is happy that its pressure got the company to relax those standards for the non-union centers, the committee does not believe the change went far enough.

On Monday morning, management offered a proposal that would have mirrored the change at the non-union centers: all-staff meetings of over an hour, and on-site meetings called by upper-level management, would not count in the production standards.

The union’s counter to that proposal would remove all management-called meetings of over five minutes and all unexpected work interruptions from the production standards.

After some back and forth on the proposals, the company agreed to exclude unexpected interruptions of over 30 minutes from the production requirements, but stood firm on the meetings issue. The union responded with a proposal of 10 minutes or more on the interruptions issue, but also stood firm on the management meetings.

On Tuesday morning, the company team said they really didn’t have any further to go with the proposal. Company spokesman Bob Kane reiterated the company’s position that while the union views the KPI standards as a health-and-safety issue, management sees them as a matter of economics. He challenged the union team to come up with a solution that would not cost money.

“Sometimes health and safety costs money,” responded union spokesman Bruce Meachum. ”But we fully intend to get a contract,” Meachum said, “and that contract must have some relief in this area.”

Because many of the remaining issues to be negotiated are interrelated, the union committee decided it didn’t make sense to continue the negotiations that day and spent the rest of the time working on a comprehensive proposal, including economics, to present at the next session scheduled for September 16 and 17 in San Francisco.

Meachum acknowledged that the company has negotiated in good faith from the beginning, telling the management team that the union has appreciated the non-confrontational approach and would like to keep it that way.


“Go Team!”

That’s the message a Denver VI texted to every member of the bargaining committee before negotiations began on Monday. It’s a good message for all of us. These negotiations are not just about those of us at the bargaining table. We’re just part of the team that includes every VI at these four centers. That’s the team that got us this far. That’s the team that, working together, will win a first-ever contract, not only for VIs at Purple, but for any VI anywhere. It’s a good and just cause and we are just the team to make it happen. Let’s all show our team spirit in the next few weeks. More on how to do that later. It’ll be easy and it’ll be fun.

Pacific Media Workers Guild Purple Communications Unit

National Bargaining Committee:

Mary Jane Moore, Arizona: National Unit Chair

Lindsey Antle, Denver, National Vice Chair

Margie Brooks, Oakland, National Vice Chair

Michelle Caplette, Arizona, National Vice Chair

Martin Yost, San Diego, National Vice Chair

Bruce Meachum, Pacific Media Workers Guild Representative, Chief Spokesperson

Joining the committee at these meetings was Norma Villegas, San Diego AVC.

San Diego VI and LBC member Teresa Mosti attended as an observer on Monday. Also attending the Monday session to show her and her organization’s support was Rebeca Vera, a San Diego Court Interpreter and Southern Vice President of the California Federation of Interpreters, one of the largest units of the Pacific Media Workers Guild.

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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.