Buyout Talks to Continue
A special Unit Membership meeting was held at 5:05 PM on November 5, 2001. In attendance were about 35 Guild members, and New York President Barry Lipton, Secretary/Treasurer Bill O'Meara, Local Representative Bob Townsend, and Attorney/Representative Jennifer Willig from the NY Local.
Lipton informed attendees that a meeting had occurred on November 5th between the Publisher's representatives, Vice President Rick Lustig and Dan Franklin, and the Guild representatives, including Unit Chair Bill South and Unit Council Member Emilio Gonzalez, regarding Jim Guest's announcement of a proposed management/ exempt buyout.
Although the Guild expected to reach an agreement with the Publisher regarding a buyout package for Guild members, the meeting did not produce that result. The Publisher's representatives either could not or would not answer any direct questions regarding CU's financial goals, or the announced reorganization. Guild representatives asked CU to identify the number of Guild positions it was willing to eliminate through a buyout and how many Guild positions would be subject to layoff if the buyout weren't successful. The CU representatives indicated they could not give any specifics and the Guild strongly suggested they work toward being able to provide answers to these questions, as they were crucial to the continuation of the talks.
Jennifer Willig, the Guild's Attorney, said that, whatever form the buyout takes, it will have to meet the following legal requirements:
1. Allow 45 days for people to decide whether to take the buyout.
2. Provide 7 days after signing the commitment to change one's mind.
3. Require those who take the buyout to sign a hold harmless release for both the Guild and Consumers Union.
Bill South promised to keep all Guild members informed as things progressed.