Can YOU afford an 18 percent pay cut?

Neither can we.

Just take a second and imagine facing that kind of cut to your income. It doesn’t matter how much you make, a pay cut of 18 percent is enough to change your lifestyle. That’s just crazy, right?

Yet, that’s what our employer, The Union Leader Corp. has forced upon us, the members of the Manchester Newspaper Guild. We are the workers at The New Hampshire Union Leader; the people who write and edit the news, take the photographs, sell and create the ads, handle your subscription and run unionleader.com.

And It gets worse.

While implementing this huge pay cut we haven’t agreed to, the company has more than doubled our health-care deductible, so we pay more than the non-union employees working right next to us. Is that fair? Could you afford that? Yeah. We can’t either.

We know the news industry is changing. We know changes must be made. When asked, and really needed, we’ve stepped up and helped our employer. Since, 2009, we’ve agreed to give back almost 15 percent of our pay. We’ve agreed to take on more and more of our insurance deductible. We’ve agreed to work longer hours, without receiving additional pay for the extra work, and more. We’ve done all that to help keep our business running. While we’re being asked to bear these huge cuts, management and non-union employees have only seen a smaller rise in insurance costs. No pay cut for them.

So, where’s the fairness?

If we are forced to accept this pay cut permanently, it would mean we would have lost about 30 percent of our pay since 2009. It would leave us making what we made in 1995. That’s when gas cost $1.11 a gallon. A new car then would run you $13,600. A stamp only cost 32 cents.

Imagine. Could you live in today’s world or run your business on what you made in 1995? Neither can we. Why does that matter to you? Because we’re all in this economy together. We are your neighbors and your customers. If we’re stuck with this huge pay cut, we will have less money to spend in our community. We’d all lose.

That’s why we need your help. Please take a few seconds to sign our email petition elsewhere on this page, and tell Publisher Joe McQuaid to treat his workers with respect and to bargain a new contract in good faith. A contract that’s fair and acceptable to everyone. Or, give him a call at 668-4321, ext. 200. Or, tweet him a message to @deucecrew.

We appreciate your help.

Posted in WTF

Manchester Newspaper Guild files 7 Unfair Labor Practice charges against NH Union Leader

MANCHESTER, NH — The Manchester Newspaper Guild on Friday filed seven Unfair Labor Practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board against The Union Leader Corp., which employs about 75 Guild members in its news, advertising, circulation, IT and accounting departments.

The charges, and one the company filed against the local, mark an unprecedented low in the 72-year history of labor relations between The Newspaper Guild local and The New Hampshire Union Leader.

Meanwhile, the members of TNG-CWA Local 31167 continue to pressure the company, the latest effort being an informational picket Saturday, March 1 from noon to 1:30 outside the Union Leader-sponsored state spelling bee at the Capital Center for the Arts in Concord. The union and company have been bargaining since September, with the company insisting on language that would gut job security and hamper the union’s ability to defend the contract, while seeking a huge pay cut and a more than doubling of health insurance deductibles. Employees have been working under a contract that expired Dec. 31.

The Guild’s charges to the labor board assert that the company has committed Unfair Labor Practices by violating the National Labor Relations Act, including engaging in surface bargaining with no real intention of arriving at a collective bargaining agreement with the union. Between September and Dec. 31, the company refused to alter the major contract retrogressions in its proposal while threatening it would withdraw those proposals Dec. 31, leaving a 20% wage reduction and even higher insurance costs on the table.

Without ever bargaining over that remaining proposal after Jan. 1, on Jan. 22 the company instead presented the union with a “Final Offer” that included an 18% wage reduction retroactive to Jan. 5, and reintroduced language that would eliminate workers’ seniority and job security language.

The union also charges that The Union Leader Corp. has refused to provide information relevant to subjects under negotiation and necessary to the union’s conduct of negotiations, has insisted upon an unreasonable confidentiality agreement before allowing union officials and their accountant to view the company’s financial records, and has refused to bargain the terms and conditions of such a confidentiality agreement.

According to the local’s charges, the union also says The Union Leader Corp. has committed an Unfair Labor Practice by insisting that a new collective bargaining agreement provide the company with complete discretion over reductions in force without any standards or guidelines.

The union also charges that the company’s retroactive wage and insurance deductible proposals — only just withdrawn on Wednesday — were illegal and impeded bargaining over wages since they were presented, and that the company’s proposals to severely curtail union activity are an unlawful restriction on employees’ rights under the National Labor Relations Act.

The company’s complaint against the Guild alleges the union has bargained in bad faith.

Recognizing the struggles faced by both the Union Leader Corp. and the news industry in recent years, Manchester Newspaper Guild members have made huge concessions in recent years, including pay cuts totaling 14.63 percent, a longer work week without additional compensation for the extra hours, elimination of personal days, reductions in sick time, increases in insurance deductibles and layoffs and buyouts of members.
Non-union and management employees — about half the total workforce — saw a smaller pay cut in 2012 and a smaller increase in health insurance deductibles in January. They currently do not face a pay cut.

The local has created a website questioning the fairness of the company’s proposal and strategy, with a petition to Publisher Joseph McQuaid that supporters can sign, at www.wtf-ul.org.

Posted in Uncategorized

Manchester Newspaper Guild asks the Union Leader, “Where’s the Fairness?”

Employees of the New Hampshire Union Leader, represented by the Manchester Newspaper Guild, are expressing their anger at again being threatened with shouldering the lion’s share of the burdens of the newspaper industry’s decline.

Guild members, along with other supporters from around New England, will gather Tuesday for a public demonstration near the site of the First Amendment Awards, which is sponsored by the Nackey Loeb School of Communications, the parent of The Union Leader Corp. Guild members will demonstrate at 1180 South Mammoth Road, Manchester , beginning at 11 a.m., across the street from the Executive Court Banquet Facility where the First Amendment Awards will take place at noon. A special guest will provide an interesting photo opportunity.

Members of the Guild, which represents employees in the accounting, advertising, circulation, data processing and news departments, have done more than their share of sacrificing to help the Union Leader Corp. through tough times, and are frustrated that company management has not shared equally in that sacrifice.

In 2009, Guild members agreed to waive a 2 percent raise that had been negotiated for that year. In 2010, Guild members agreed to an effective 12 percent pay cut. Both of these employee sacrifices were made to help the company through harsh times, and to help protect jobs across the company. Guild members also made concessions on health insurance, sick time, personal time off and a longer work week. In concrete terms, an employee at the senior reporter level, given those concessions, has given back more than $35,000 to the Union Leader Corp. since 2009.

In 2010 and 2011, while employees were sacrificing, upper management was treated to pay raises, with the company’s top official receiving pay raises of roughly 2 percent each year, before accepting about a 4 percent cut in 2012. Over the 2009-2012 period, that top official received almost $12,000 more in base pay than if his pay had stayed the same. while a typical employee took a cut almost three times as large. Other company executives saw similar gains.

Now, the Union Leader is seeking to force a choice on its workforce: Allow all language that enhances workers’ job and economic security to be gutted, which would almost certainly result in valuable employees being shown the door without cause, or absorb a further 20 percent pay cut, bringing pay back to 1994 rates.

Union Leader employees have demonstrated their willingness to work with the company to try and weather the storm, but cannot sit idly by and take on all of the burden. Workers see no reason to sacrifice their families’ well-being while executives refuse to take on the same sacrifice.

The workers want to know: Where’s The Fairness, Union Leader?

Tagged with: , ,
Posted in WTF

Sign the Petition

Tell Publisher Joseph McQuaid that you don’t like the way he does business with his workforce.

363 signatures

Treat Your Workers Right

Dear Mr. McQuaid,

[signature]

Share this with your friends: