Tuesday, June 26, 2007

In Baltimore, what they wanted is what they have

A couple of non-union Tribune staffers contacted us about the recent Guild contract settlement at the Baltimore Sun: What about it is a good deal?

We passed on the question to Washington-Baltimore Newspaper Guild president Bill Salganick. Here's his reply:

– We came out of this contract with our real, defined-benefit pension and with company contributions to a 401(k), while unrepresented Tribune employees have neither, having been given a risky ESOP and a cash balance plan. There's no guarantee ours will do better, but it's what our members wanted, and it's what we have.
– We have guaranteed raises for the next four years. While some of that is on the scales and some is "pay for performance," the performance pool must be distributed each year.
– Through bargaining, we were able to maintain a sick leave plan we like, rather than have the inferior Tribune short-term disability plan forced on us.
– Although we've lost our original reporter-photographer combo prohibition, we have, written into the contract, a guarantee of training, and guarantee that people won't be disciplined or downgraded in evaluations for work they weren't hired to do, and a joint Guild-management committee to oversee the transition.
– Our members got to discuss and set priorities, vote on what we proposed, and vote on the final contract (which they approved overwhelmingly).
– Guild-represented Sun employees had voluntary buyouts during the last couple of months and there was a layoff of three ad artists (less work for them), but they got severance and they go on a rehire list – which means they will have right of first refusal should The Sun seek to fill those positions during the next two years.

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