The NewsGuild of Greater Philadelphia


April 27, 2015billrossInquirer

For five years, Guild members have given up two weeks of pay saving the company about $1 million a year.

Now when we want to devote those funds to our health and welfare fund, the company is balking. That $1 million won’t even fill the $2.5 million hole created by the company’s refusal to increase its fund contribution in 15 years. But it will help. (You will learn more about other strategies in upcoming bulletins.)

The company says we can’t afford furloughs. That it’s embarrassing to the company.

But consider this: Can any one of you afford to pay $4,000 (for single coverage) to $8,500 (for family coverage) MORE a year for health care? That would be on top of the $20 a week, or $1,040 a year singles pay as well as the $750 deductible bringing their total annual cost to $5,790. Those with family coverage already pay $50 a week or $2,600 a year plus a $1,500 deductible. Their new total would be $12,600 a year.

Have you thought about what that will do to your budget? Can you stay in your apartment? Your home? What else can you cut from your budget? Contributions to a retirement fund in lieu of the pension the company killed? A car, vacations, a college education for your children? How about clothes and food?

Not only has the company taken our money but the company’s chief financial officer won’t even acknowledge the hundreds of hours of free overtime that employees give this company every year saving hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Now, ask yourself, how did the company spend your money? Did it succeed in finding ways to improve our revenue stream? Or, did it pay our members not to work in a series of buyouts which created more work for the rest of us? Did select executives take raises and bonuses?

Where do you think that $903 profit sharing check came from? Our givebacks.

It is our money and our sacrifices, our commitment and our ever increasing workload that drives this company. But this company doesn’t think it has to pay for that by providing adequate health care benefits. Instead, it wants you to cover yet another management failure to increase revenue.

The problem for the company is that we have nothing left to give because they’ve sucked it all up. Not only does upper management refuse to acknowledge that, it refuses to budget for the expense of having workers.

Management behavior in these negotiations is strong evidence for you to understand that when it matters, your sacrifices have not been appreciated or even noticed.

Management feels it does not have an obligation to you.

That is what is embarrassing.

In solidarity,
Howard Gensler
Bill Ross
Diane Mastrull
Cindy Burton
Melanie Burney
Regina Medina
Brian McCrone