Friday, April 25, 2008

4/24 bargaining update *

Here's the synopsis from our latest contract negotiations, sent via email.

The dust hasn't settled, but Thursday's stormy session seemed to end on a positive note.

Wanting to continue some forward momentum achieved at its April 10 talks, the Southern California Media Guild/CWA Local 9400 agreed to withdraw its integrity-language proposal. And it proposed to put off --- for now--- the push for "Internet incentives," with the option to re-open the contract talks on that one topic each year of the contract.

MediaNews negotiator Jim Janiga, after rejecting the Guild's proposal for outsourcing, said he would offer a counter proposal at the next session April 30. The rejected proposal cited specific content sources and had a ban on layoffs and transfers for the life of the contract.

The integrity-language proposal focused on bylines for non-Press-Telegram journalists who are identified as a "staff writer" or "staff photographer." The proposed language was designed to regain some credibility with the readers --- a point shrugged off by Janiga.

"Not interested," he said flatly.

The company negotiator, who is senior vice president of human resources and labor relations, appeared to be in a foul mood throughout the session, with decidedly derisive comments about drops in advertising and circulation, then adding “Thank you very much.”

Janiga complained that in the effort for "Internet incentives" the union was attempting to achieve a "lead position for the industry," and insisted there aren't any revenues for the website work. The Guild believes, that in this instance, being a leader in the industry would be a good thing, the employer didn’t agree.

In an effort to avoid a stall in the talks, Guild negotiator and Local 9400 vice president Vicki Di Paolo recommended re-opening the issue later.

The Guild expects the focus of the April 30 session to be on Janiga's outsourcing proposal and wages.

Next session April 30, 1:00 pm.

It's been a tough road, but we're definitely making progress.

* Edited

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