The NewsGuild of Greater Philadelphia


June 2, 2015billrossInquirer

Good evening,
As you’ve been inundated by bulletins from the Guild and the suddenly chatty company, we’d like to clarify again what’s happening tomorrow night.
Tomorrow night’s strike authorization vote is NOT a vote to strike. It is a vote to empower the Guild bargaining committee to move forward with strike preparations and get support and finance from our parent unions. We ARE NOT going on strike on Thursday. We have a contract until June 27 and we will continue to bargain in good faith. We hope to never go on strike. That’s up to the company and its willingness to make a fair contract offer.
The strike authorization vote will be held from 5-8 pm at the Loews Hotel at 12th and Market streets (33rd floor, Howe Room). All Guild members are urged to come and vote. The vote is secret ballot. The bargaining committee will be there to answer any questions. You may stay and discuss or just vote and leave.

If you are unable to attend the vote in person, you may vote by email. Hit reply to this bulletin and vote:

1) Yes, I authorize the Guild executive board to begin strike preparations
2) No, I do not authorize the Guild executive board to begin strike preparations
With regard to the latest scare tactic from VP of Human Resources, Keith Black:
The company has done NOTHING to avoid a strike. They know their contract offer is horrible.
Guild leadership does not “ultimately make the decision to strike.” You, the members vote and the International Guild and the CWA ultimately make the decision.
Better than anyone, we understand the “harsh economic realities facing our industry and our Company.” That’s why we worked with the company on three straight concessionary contracts. We’ve lost half our membership over the past 15 years. We’ve given up sick days, daily overtime and salary. When will the Company understand the harsh economic realities facing its employees?
The Company, however, not only wants your health care costs to skyrocket, they’re threatening to cancel its contributions to your health care IMMEDIATELY should we go on strike. When will the company acknowledge we are joint partners in a Taft-Hartley fund managing your health care? They used to fund it all. Now they contribute about half, the fund surplus and the members contribute the other half. When the health care fund runs out of money within the next year, with the Company’s present $500,000 proposal (the ONLY proposal the Company has made since its first proposal of $0), by year two of this contract, the members and the Company will each be paying half the cost. It will be the biggest pay cut the members at this company have ever gotten.
We do appreciate that Black is urging members to attend our meeting and ask questions because it’s become clear over the past few months that he has no interest or ability to answer any of them. Which other union was in mediation? Nothing. How did the teamsters divert money to get $7.80 an hour paid to their health fund (the Company pays $1.70/singles and $5.13/familes for Guild members)? Nothing. Were the other unions asked for seniority concessions? Nothing. Could we get the economics from the contracts of the unions who have ratified? Nothing.
We’re meeting tomorrow with the Federal mediator and the Company non-bargainers from noon until 4 pm, before we head over to the Loews. The Company owes us a counter-offer. They can end it tomorrow. Fund health care, merge into the main unit and stop going after seniority.
In solidarity,
Howard Gensler
Bill Ross
Diane Mastrull
Cindy Burton
Melanie Burney
Regina Medina
Brian McCrone
PS: And if you haven’t yet signed our petition, please click . We appreciate everyone’s support. The comments have been tremendous.