WASHPOST WORKERS PICKET, DEMAND CONTRACT

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Despite unseasonably warm temperatures and a blazing noonday sun that ratcheted up the heat even more, nearly 100 News Guild union members and their supporters turned out for a spirited picket line Sept. 27 in front of the Washington Post on K Street. The union’s trademark balloons floated gaily above picket signs as chants rang out, demanding “What do we want? A contract! When do we want it? Now!” Post unit co-chair at the Washington-Baltimore NewsGuild Local 32035 Fredrick Kunkle told the crowd that “The man who owns Amazon should not be sending his employees up the creek.” Noting that the Post has been setting new records for readership, “thanks to the hard work of everyone on the team, from the reporters to the guys who drive the trucks. All we’re asking for is a reasonable pay raise from the richest man on the planet, for an institution that’s important for democracy.”

 

(From the Metro Washington DC AFL-CIO Council blog archives — www.dclabor.org/home/archives/09-2017/2)

Local Updates, Bargaining and Organizing!

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With a contract set to expire June 10, the Washington Post Guild unit has established a bargaining committee: Freddy Kunkle (Newsroom chair), David DeJesus (Commercial chair), Pat Jacob, Sarah Mark, Stephen Richardson, Tim Smith, and Tom Jackman (alternate). The current Guild contract at the Post covers more than 850 workers. Rick Ehrmann has been the Post’s Guild representative at the bargaining table since 2002.

The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network bargaining committee consists of Kari O’Donnell, Shemique Lindo, and Local Representative Paul Reilly. The RAINN unit’s initial Guild contract was signed in 2015 and expires May 31. The agreement covers about 60 employees.

At National Association of Social Workers headquarters, the nearly 30 workers covered by a Guild contract on April 10 approved a two-year extension of the agreement that was to expire June 30. NASW staff will receive an immediate 3 percent wage increase and a 2.5 percent increase July 1, 2018. WBNG has represented NASW staff since 2010.

June 30 also is the expiration date for the WBNG contract at the headquarters of CASA. The organization works to improve the quality of life in low-income Latino and immigrant communities. Most of the 60 employees under Guild jurisdiction work in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties, but CASA also has offices in Falls Church and Woodbridge, Va., and in York, Penn.

In other bargaining news, TNG Local 32035 is currently in negotiations over initial contracts with the FP Group (ForeignPolicy.com), where 20 staffers were granted union recognition by management last summer, and at The Advancement Project, a Washington-based nonprofit at which a 15-member Guild shop was organized in January.

Guild Leaders Sign Two-Year Agreement at Post

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(The following appeared on the Post Guild Facebook page.)

Fellow catalysts,

We’re very pleased to announced today that we have just signed the new, two-year collective bargaining agreement between the Washington-Baltimore News Guild and The Washington Post.

The 2.5 percent raise in the first year of the contract will become effective at the beginning of the first payroll period following the date of signing. The Post’s lead negotiator told us the raise will not show up in paychecks this week for obvious reasons but he believes it will likely appear in the next one. All Guild-covered employees will also receive a 2 2 percent pay hike in the second year of the contract.

On behalf of myself and fellow members of the bargaining committee, I want to thank everyone in the Guild-covered bargaining unit who had our backs these past eight months. We can’t thank you enough for joining (50-plus new dues-paying members), petitioning, and marching with us.

The first takeaway from these past eight months is that despite the very painful loss caused by the Post’s decision to freeze the traditional pension, the presence of a union forced the company to reach compromise on pay, healthcare and many other important benefits. Without a union to speak up on everyone’s behalf, the company would have had the right to unilaterally impose its way not just with the pension but with many other unfavorable terms.

The second takeaway is that we need to begin now to strengthen the labor movement right here in our building.
Please stay tuned in the coming weeks and months, and please give careful consideration to joining the Guild. Or, if you’re already a member, please consider stepping up your involvement. We are only as strong as all of you.

Freddy Kunkle, Post Unit co-chair

Guild Members Nearly Unanimous in CBA Ratification Vote

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(The following appeared on the Post Guild Facebook page.)

Colleagues:

The contract was nearly unanimously ratified by the largest turnout of Guild members in recent years. Thank you for coming out to vote and thank you, most of all, for your support during these last eight months. This contract was a significant achievement, considering the company’s original proposal.

Congratulations.

Timothy Smith, Guild Bargaining Team

 

Post, Guild Continue to Talk, But Off the Record

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(The following appeared on the Post Guild Facebook page.)

We’d like to update you on the status of bargaining talks since a series of Guild membership meetings nearly two weeks ago.

Since then, representatives for the Post and the Guild have agreed to talk off the record in hopes of negotiating a resolution after eight months of difficult bargaining.

In off-the-record negotiations, both sides gain more flexibility than in on-the-record talks.

In on-the-record talks, each side is obligated to hold to the terms of proposals it makes; neither side can retract an offered concession. In off-the-record discussions, however, the company or the union could suggest a concession conditioned on receiving something in return, and if a compromise isn’t possible, the party could retract its proposal.

As the phrase also implies, both sides agree to talk privately in off-the-record negotiations, without discussing the details beyond the bargaining table. The process continues until such talks either break down or reach an off-the-record tentative agreement. If such an agreement is reached, then the sides go back on the record to affirm the agreement, which still must be ratified by the membership.

Going forward, we will do our best to keep you updated whenever we can. In the meantime, we would like to thank everyone who attended the Guild’s membership meetings.

Freddy Kunkle, Post Unit co-chair