NLRB Rules; OUR FIGHT CONTINUES
In a ruling that should surprise no one, the regional director of the NLRB has ruled against reopening a 2015 case the NewsGuild filed against
Philadelphia Media Network alleging fraudulent concealment of facts during contract bargaining that year.
To refresh your memory, the Company had asked the Union during negotiations in 2015 to agree to delete a side letter to the collective bargaining
agreement that said if PMN ever returned to offering pensions to any of its other unions, it would have to do the same for the NewsGuild. At the time, PMN’s negotiators said that so-called “me too” provision was irrelevant and unnecessary because “the company
is out of the pension business.”
Taking the company at its word (BAD, BAD IDEA), the NewsGuild agreed to have the side letter removed from the contract. Shortly after the deal
was ratified, the NewsGuild came to believe the company had resumed pension contributions for the Teamsters. The NewsGuild filed a complaint with the NLRB at the time but, without proof of those new pension benefits, was advised by counsel to withdraw the
complaint, which it did.
Earlier this year, the NewsGuild got proof of those Teamster pension benefits – a copy of the most recent contract between the Company and the
Teamsters, reached on Dec. 29. That contract outlines annual pension payments to the Teamsters for years 2015 through 2019. With such proof that the Company is, in fact, back in the pension business, the NewsGuild on Jan. 22 requested that the NLRB reopen
the 2015 case on the grounds that PMN fraudulently concealed its pension arrangement with the Teamsters in order to get the NewsGuild to give up the “me too” clause.
Having reviewed the Company’s new contract with the Teamsters, “I conclude that there is nothing contained in it that shows the Employer fraudulently
concealed any facts or evidence during the investigation. Accordingly, I have concluded there is no basis to reopen this case,” wrote Dennis P. Walsh. He provided no other explanation.
And so, another painful chapter of life as an employee at PMN comes to an end. This ruling does not change the fact this media company of great
renown, extraordinary journalism and faithful, diligent employees has not provided an across-the-board raise to NewsGuild members in 11 years, and only one raise in about 15 years.
It’s a disgraceful streak that must not be continued. It is a source of great pain and financial struggle for our members and should be a tremendous
embarrassment to a company that considers itself a model of quality in the industry – a company run by the “Publisher of the Year.”
Stay tuned for details on our next collective expression of our value.
Diane Mastrull, President
Bill Ross, Executive Director