Tentative agreement for Modesto copy desk move

SacramentoBeeBargaining Bulletin

The company and guild representatives met Monday in Modesto and Wednesday in Sacramento to continue bargaining on the production center consolidation. We came to a tentative agreement to the Modesto contract that will cover issues concerning all production center employees here whose jobs are moved to Sacramento.

A separate side letter will be added to the Sacramento contract that will cover Modesto employees once they move into jobs in Sacramento. Pending final agreement and ratification, all current Modesto production center employees have been guaranteed a position with at least their same current hourly status (full-time, part-time or on-call) in Sacramento. The company has also made a verbal commitment to consider on-call and part-time Modesto employees for full-time positions in Sacramento should they be available.

Pending final agreement and ratification, the following provisions will apply:

Notice: Modesto production center employees will be given 30-days notice before their position will be moved to Sacramento. Notice will be given on an individual basis, when his/her specific job will transfer. The company noted that a tentative schedule of positions and moves should be released prior to the mandatory 30-day notice window, so people will probably know prior to the official 30-days when they could be moving.

Moving Expenses: The company will pay up to $5,000 actual moving costs (with receipts). If you resign during the trial period in Sacramento, you will be required to pay the entire moving cost back. There is no other stipulation for paying back moving expenses beyond the trial-period window.

Vacation: All vacation requests for the year approved by March 15 for Modesto employees will be honored in Sacramento.

Severance: All full-time, part-time and on-call employees will be eligible for severance if they decide to not take a position in Sacramento. Current full-time employees are eligible for two weeks of severance for every year of service up to 26 weeks. Current part-time and on-call employees are eligible for one week of severance up to 13 weeks for each year of service. Severance for current part-time and on-call employees will be calculated by taking the average weekly base pay for the last 26 weeks.

If a full-time employee turns down a full-time position in Sacramento and opts for part-time instead, the employee will be eligible to receive partial severance at one week for every year of service up to 13 weeks. Need mutual agreement, to have employee ask and company agree to switch in hourly status.

All employees who do not take a position in Sacramento will receive at least four weeks of severance, regardless of time worked.

This is an important gain for particularly on-call employees, who were not eligible for any severance in the main Modesto contract.

Resignation: An employee may resign within the 30-day notice window and still be eligible to receive severance. Also indicated orally that employees are welcome to talk with Cathy Allison for resignations prior to the 30-day window.

Unemployment Claims: The company will not challenge unemployment claims for Modesto employees who are not taking positions in Sacramento.

Letter of Recommendation: The company will give employees who do not take jobs in Sacramento letters saying they were laid off. Copies of job performance review will also be given upon request.

Sports Clerks/Graphic Artists: The company will not guarantee that either will stay in Modesto. Company has said initially the graphic artists will probably stay in Modesto initially, possibly moved up later down the line. Also company has said there is a “pretty good chance we’ll only need one when all this plays out.” Which would mean the equivalent of one full-time equivalent employee.

Voting on the Modesto tentative agreement will not be scheduled until after the full Sacramento production center contract is complete.

A separate side letter is currently being negotiated for Modesto employees who will become part of the Sacramento production center that will be included in the Sacramento contract. The guild gave a comprehensive response to the company’s initial side letter proposal.


1. All Modesto production center employees who are laid off because of the consolidated production center will be offered a job in Sacramento.

2. The company will determine the laid-off employees job classification in the new consolidated production center. And the employee has the right to appeal that classification to the company, with or without guild assistance.

3. If a Modesto employees’ base pay rate is less than the minimum for his/her job classification, that rate shall be increased to the minimum.

4. If a Modesto employees’ base pay rate is more than the maximum of the job classification, that employee shall be “red-circled” which means they will receive a lump sum as his/her merit increase instead of having it added to his/her base pay.

5. Each Modesto employee shall have the opportunity to negotiate a higher rate of compensation upon accepting a job in Sacramento. The company has already said no one’s current salary will be reduced.

6. Modesto employees who accept jobs in Sacramento shall retain their seniority based on their continuous service with McClatchy in regards to vacation accrual, vacation scheduling, 401K contribution, severance, sabbatical leaves and layoffs.

7. Modesto employees who accept jobs in Sacramento shall have a 120-day trial period in which to decide whether to stay in the production center. During that time the employee has the right to resign and still receive his/her full severance. The guild had previously proposed a 6-month trial period and the company countered with a 60-day trial period.

Another proposal the guild made was an addition to the side letter in the existing Sacramento contract addressing severance. Sacramento employees currently are eligible for more severance than Modesto employees. The side letter language includes the names of existing Modesto employees who would be eligible for additional severance once they took positions in Sacramento. These employees would be grandfathered in at Sacramento’s higher severance rate: Pat Clark, Jim Lawrence, Christine McKoon, Janice Nienhouse, Jim Silva, Sharon Ghag, Robert Harris and Lori Myrland.

The company will return April 9th at bargaining in Sacramento with a comprehensive proposal addressing the guild’s proposals.

Once a tentative agreement is reached in Sacramento, Modesto employees will have the chance to vote to ratify our agreement. Only dues-paying members of the guild are allowed to vote, so if you are interested in having a say in the final decision, please consider joining soon. Membership dues for full-time members are $48.53 a month for those with less than six years experience and $55.71 a month for those with more. Membership information is included in an attachment.

Please let me know if you have any questions about either the Modesto tentative agreement or ongoing negotiations in Sacramento.

Marijke Rowland
Modesto Unit Chair

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