Where We Work

Go back

After 19 months of contract talks, Times finally makes movement

09/21/2012

After the Guild presented a significant counterproposal on Thursday reducing its proposed financial package by about $5.5 million, the company for the first time increased its offer for general wages, health care contributions and the Guild’s proposed Adjustable Pension Plan by about $7.5 million. This still is not enough, but at least management negotiators – knowing that there is general membership meeting scheduled for Monday, and with Guild observers looking on – budged from their initial opening offer of 19 months ago.

NEGOTIATIONS UPDATE

Guild President Bill O’Meara began the meeting by laying out the cornerstone issues and where the two sides stood on their proposals on wages, health care contributions, pension and the Incentive Bonus Plan.

Here’s a breakdown of where the two sides started the day:

Guild
Wages: 4 percent rasises
for 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014

Times
Wages: no raise for 2011, 1% upon contract ratification and
a 1% lump-sum bonus for 2013

Medical contributions: annual increases to 10%, 11% and 12%
of payroll (currently about 6%)

Medical contributions: an additional $200,000 per year

Pension: $10.3 million, same
amount The Times currently contributes for one year's accrual

Pension: $3.5 million

Bonus Plan: top payment of 20%
(in very profitable years)

Bonus Plan: top payment of 2%
(in very profitable years)

In an effort to spur movement on the company’s part, the Guild offered a new proposal on health care and pension contributions. The Times’s lead negotiator, Bernard Plum, deemed them “tiny moves,” yet his team took a break to consider the proposal, and returned with its first significant economic counterproposal of the entire bargaining process and an additional two years onto the contract (until March 30, 2016).

Here’s where the two proposals stood at the end of the bargaining session:

Guild
Wages: 4 percent rasises for 2011
2012, 2013 and 2014

Times
Wages: no raise for 2011,
1% upon contract ratification,
1% on March 31, 2014
and 1% on March 31, 2015

Medical contributions: annual
increases to 9.5%, 10.5% and 11.5%
of payroll (currently about 6%)

Medical contributions: an
additional $500,000 per year

Pension: $9.5 million

Pension: $5 million

Bonus Plan: top payment of 20%
(in very profitable years)

Bonus Plan: top payment of
2% (in very profitable years)

Despite this movement, the two sides are still extremely far apart. If we are to reach a fair settlement, we need members to get active, get involved and get ready to mobilize.

These issues and more will be addressed at a vital membership meeting on Monday at the Hotel Trades Council Hall at 305 W. 44th St. (just off Eighth Avenue). Please make every effort to be at one of the two sessions: starting at noon and at 1:30 p.m.

The next bargaining session is scheduled for 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 21 at the Guild office, 1501 Broadway, Suite 708 (between 43rd and 44th Streets). Observers are invited, with no sign-up required.

Go back