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In talks, Guild seeks better profit-sharing, Times talks of impasse

09/10/2012

The first of six negotiating sessions scheduled for September took place today with the Guild offering a counterproposal for what company negotiators have termed an “incentive bonus plan.”

NEGOTIATIONS UPDATE

Management’s proposal was a response to the Guild’s original profit-sharing plan. In the Guild’s counterproposal, bonus payments reached a maximum of 20 percent of salary; management’s offering maxed out at only 2 percent. The Guild also pressed for a verification process to ensure that payouts to members would use the same formula as the management plan.

Times negotiators, led by outside lawyer Bernard Plum, also offered a response to the Guild’s proposal for what it is calling an Adjustable Pension Plan (APP). While reaffirming interest in the concept of the Guild’s groundbreaking plan, management’s response raised several serious roadblocks, including insufficient funding and the exclusion of newly hired employees from the plan. Plum distributed several voluminous documents that he called “complicated.”  He’s right, and the Guild’s attorneys will have to review them carefully.

Management’s insistence on negotiating two separate contracts – print and digital – continues to impede negotiations. Early in the meeting, while discussing the company’s pension response, Guild lawyer Irwin Bluestein told Plum: “We are still negotiating for a unified contract. We will receive the other documents but at this time we still don’t agree to negotiate separate contracts.’’

“You do that at your peril,’’ Plum responded, implying that the company might well declare impasse. “The clock is ticking. You’re on notice.’’

Negotiating sessions are scheduled for Wednesday and Friday. We will keep you updated.

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