Tag Archives: Newsroom

Denver Newspaper Guild Website Has Moved

27 Apr

The Denver Newspaper Guild website has moved to denvernewspaperguild.org. Hope to see you there.

The Guild is Looking for a Few Good Stewards

29 Nov

A ONE DAY training session for current union stewards and those who would like to become a steward is scheduled for Friday, Dec. 7 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Communication Workers of America District 7 office at 8085 E. Prentice Ave. in Greenwood Village (I-25 and Belleview Avenue). Lost-time pay will be available for anyone wishing to attend the training.

If you are interested in attending, please contact the Denver Newspaper Guild office at 303-595-9818 or dng@denvernewspaperguild.org by 5 p.m. Friday, Nov. 30.

From the FAQs section of the DNG website:

What is a Steward?
Stewards are employees who volunteer their help to make sure the contract is followed. They do this by answering your questions, helping you find solutions to problems and representing you in meetings with your managers. Wondering what your rights and responsibilities are? Check with a steward. They should be your first contact if you have a problem on the job.

When Should I Ask a Steward to Represent Me?
You have the right to have a steward present at any meeting that could affect your relationship with the company — whether it is a disciplinary meeting or not. If a manager asks to speak with you in private, ask a steward to go with you. Why? Not because you can’t stand up for yourself, but because a steward standing beside you makes you a stronger employee, one who won’t be taken advantage of, intimidated, or treated inappropriately. A steward also can help you and your manager work out solutions to problems. Managers know you have the right to a steward, and cannot prevent you from exercising that right. You will find that encounters with managers are far more fair and productive when a steward is present. If you go into a manager’s office alone, it’s your word against theirs if any information from that meeting sparks an issue.

For more information on union stewards, click here.

Newsroom Contract Ratified

25 Sep

THE NEW CONTRACT covering Denver Post employees in the newsroom was accepted by the membership. The voting margin was 94.7 percent for the new contract and 5.3 percent against.

The new agreement is effective immediately.

Thomas McKay
Kieran Nicholson
Jim Ludvik
Kyle Wagner
Kevin Hamm
Tony Mulligan
Sara Burnett (in memory)

Newsroom Bargaining: Sessions 16 and 17 Result in Tentative Agreement

4 Sep

A TENTATIVE AGREEMENT on all outstanding bargaining issues was reached by Newsroom Guild and management representatives after sessions on August 21 and August 31.

Our next steps will be to craft specific language for this new contract. After that, we will share the proposed contract will all members and hold meetings to answer questions. Then we will vote.

What follows is a brief summary of our tentative agreement. It is not necessarily the language that will be in the contract, but is intended for explanation only.

TERM

  • Sept. 10, 2014 (same as the non-newsroom unit.)

PENSION PLAN

  • The local newsroom pension plan shall be frozen.
  • All benefit service credits for current participant accounts will be considered to be vested.
  • All Guild-covered employees shall receive two times the benefit for this year (2012). This has essentially the same effect as adding one additional year of benefits.
  • There are no changes to our second, much smaller plan, The Newspaper Guild International Pension Plan.

401(k)

  • The company match to the 401(k) will continue to be suspended indefinitely.

PERFORMANCE APPRAISALS

  • A performance-appraisal system will be created and instituted. This will involve giving each employee a preview performance appraisal to explain the system and what is to be expected from employees. Approximately six months later a first full performance appraisal will be done for each employee. After this, employees will have performance appraisals around the anniversary of their date of hire.
  • The Guild and management will work together to create, review and possibly modify the performance-appraisal process.

REDUCTION IN FORCE (SENIORITY)

  • For the period between contract ratification and the time when all employees who were on staff at the time of ratification have had their second full performance appraisal, our current language using seniority within job titles shall be used in the event of a layoff. The only exception will be for reporters and columnists. They will have the additional criteria of department. To better explain this, if we were to go through layoffs currently, and the company decided to cut reporters, they would have to start with the least-senior reporters, regardless of which department — Features, Sports, etc. — they work for. The proposed language would allow the company to specify which department they intend to trim by laying off reporters and columnists. Those reporters and columnists to be laid off would be the least-senior in the specified department.
  • After completion of the second full performance appraisal for all employees (on staff at the time of ratification), layoffs will be conducted using a point system. Points are determined as follows:
    • A maximum of 40 points for seniority. (Two points for each year of service within a job title.)
    • A maximum of 30 points for General Competencies based on an employee’s most recent performance appraisal.
    • A maximum of 30 points for Specific Skills Assessment based on an employee’s most recent performance appraisal.
  • After implementation, if performance appraisals are not completed according to the terms described above (the two bulleted items under PERFORMANCE APPRAISALS), any layoffs would be done using reverse-seniority by job title, except for reporters and columnists who will be considered by department and job title.
  • Employees affected by layoffs may still bump back to previously held guild-covered positions.

YOURHUB

  • Community Manager wage scale goes from $562 per week to $605 per week.
  • Community Journalist wage scale goes from $562 per week to $630 per week.
  • YourHub staff will be allowed to write stories for The Denver Post and will be paid at Denver Post reporter wage rate for such stories.
  • The memorandum of agreement concerning YourHub will be moved into the body of the contract.

NEW OR MODIFIED EQUIPMENT OR PROCESSES

  • The company shall provide The Guild three months’ notice, if possible, and no less than one months’ notice of intent to introduce new or modified equipment, machines, apparatus or processes that will create new job titles or alter the job content of existing job titles. This shortens the time frame for the company to implement changes in equipment or processes.

EQUIPMENT

  • The company will reimburse up to $50 per month for employees required by management to have a cell phone and up to $25 per month for employees required to transmit data from their cell phones.

HEALTH INSURANCE

  • No change from current contract. The premium share for all newsroom employees remains at 30 percent.

BEREAVEMENT LEAVE

  • Currently, employees can only take bereavement leave within seven days of a death. The proposed contract allows employees to take bereavement leave farther out than one week if they notify their supervisor within five business days of the death and work with their supervisor to schedule time off.

WAGES

  • Current wage scales will remain for the term of the contract. The sole exception is YourHub wage scales.

WORKING IN A HIGHER CLASS (HOURS OF WORK AND OVERTIME)

  • No changes to current contract. Employees must work for more than four hours in a higher wage classification (in any one shift of eight hours) to be paid at the higher wage rate for those hours working in the higher class.

FEATURES SECTION EDITORS

  • The job titles of Travel Editor, Fashion Editor, Book Editor and Assistant Features Editor will be replaced with title Section Editor. Section Editors will be paid at Classification 16 scale. The six employees who have been working as Section Editors will be reclassified as such.

UNION SHOP

  • As a condition of employment, all Guild-covered newsroom employees will be required to join The Guild and pay dues.

If you have questions that cannot wait until we hold Q and A sessions, contact any of the bargaining committee members.

Thomas McKay
Sara Burnett
Kieran Nicholson
Jim Ludvik
Kyle Wagner
Kevin Hamm
Tony Mulligan

Reduction In Dues To Be Voted Upon

30 Aug

IN THE AUGUST Denver Newspaper Guild Representative Council meeting, delegates decided to propose a reduction in union dues if contracts with expanded union shop requirements are ratified by the non-newsroom and newsroom bargaining units.

Several years ago, The Newspaper Guild (TNG) added a requirement of a monthly contribution to the national union’s defense fund to be paid by local unions on behalf of each member. Members of The Denver Newspaper Guild voted to increase dues by a small amount to cover that expense. Dues were increased from 1.3846 percent of pay, the minimum dues required in the TNG Constitution, to 1.4423 percent, the current dues rate.

The tentative agreement for the non-newsroom bargaining unit includes a requirement that everyone covered by the agreement except outside sale staff must become members of the union or pay fees equivalent to dues. A full union shop has also been tentatively agreed to for the newsroom bargaining unit. These changes will increase dues income received by the union.

Since the union’s income will increase if the tentative agreements are adopted, the Representative Council believes all members can pay a little bit less. So the Council proposes to reduce dues to the minimum required in the TNG Constitution. The Denver Newspaper Guild Bylaws require a vote at a membership meeting to change the rate of dues. If the contracts are ratified, a dues reduction will be voted upon at the October General Membership meeting.

Below are examples of current dues compared to the proposed reduced dues rate:

Weekly Pay Current Monthly Dues Reduced Monthly Dues
$600.00 $37.50 $36.00
$800.00 $50.00 $48.00
$1,000.00 $62.50 $60.00
$1,200.00 $75.00 $72.00

 

Newsroom Bargaining: Session 15

21 Jul

GUILD AND MANAGEMENT representatives met June 20 to continue collective bargaining for the newsroom.

We began by going over a list of things that need to be cleaned up in our existing contract. Some of these items were simple, such as removing obsolete concession and snapback language. Other core items such as pensions and wages required more discussion.

After lunch, the COMPANY handed out a proposal encompassing issues that are still on the table.
After reviewing the company’s initial proposal, the GUILD drafted a counter proposal, noted below in blue.
The COMPANY considered the guild’s proposal and offered their second-round proposal, noted in maroon.

PENSION PLAN

  • COMPANY: Freeze the local pension plan. This means whatever amount you are entitled to today will be all you receive from the local plan when you retire. There would be no additional pension benefits for future years of employment. New employees would have no pension from the local plan. The Company did not propose any changes to The Newspaper Guild International Pension Plan, the much smaller of our two pension plans.
  • GUILD: Reduce the local pension benefit formula by half. Employees would receive the full pension they have earned to now plus one half benefits for years beyond today.
  • COMPANY: No change from initial proposal.

401(k)

  • COMPANY: The 401(k) plan shall continue to be offered to employees. The company match to the 401(k) is eliminated. The company can change or alter the 401(k) plan.
  • GUILD: Continue the suspension of the 401(k) match.
  • COMPANY: No change from initial proposal.

YOURHUB

  • COMPANY: 1) YourHub staff may be assigned to write stories specifically for The Denver Post at the Denver Post reporter wage rate.
    2) The Denver Post may publish any YourHub story.
    3) Increase YourHub wages by 10 percent.
  • GUILD: 1) The committee agreed that YourHub staff will be allowed to write stories for The Denver Post at Denver Post reporter scale.
    2) The committee agreed with the company proposal to allow The Denver Post to publish YourHub content.
    3) To put the company’s proposed YourHub wage increase in context, a 10 percent increase would have a YourHub staffer earning $124 less per week than what a top-of-scale Editorial Assistant currently makes, or $115 less per week than a first-year reporter regardless of how long the YourHub staffer has been employed with The Post. (Figures are for base pay only and do not include any merit pay.)
    The Guild’s counter-proposal is to have new YourHub employees start at the current rate of $562 per week. YourHub staffers with one year of experience would earn $624 per week (10 percent above current scale.) Staffers with three or more years experience would receive $686 per week.
    4) YourHub staff should be eligible for severance in the event the YourHub publications are discontinued.
  • COMPANY: The company noted a tentative agreement to the first two points, offered no change from their initial proposal regarding wages and did not respond to the Guild’s fourth point on severance.

COPY DESK

  • COMPANY: Elimination of the Copy Editor, Assistant Copy Desk Chief and Wire Editor positions and creation of the Assistant Editor position to be paid at Classification 17 scale.
  • GUILD: The bargaining committee worked with the company to allow the changes to the former copy desk.
  • COMPANY: The company noted a tentative agreement to the Copy Desk issue.

PERFORMANCE APPRAISALS

  • COMPANY: Within 30 days after the date of a new contract, the company will have a preview evaluation with each newsroom employee to explain the performance-appraisal system. Six months later, each employee will be given a full performance appraisal. Thereafter performance appraisals will be done on the employee’s anniversary date of hire.
  • GUILD: Thirty to 60 days after the date of a new contract, the company will have a preview evaluation with each newsroom employee. Six months later, the company will provide each employee with a full performance appraisal. This first round of full appraisals will be completed within two months. Six months after the first full appraisal, each employee will receive a second full appraisal. The second round of full appraisals will be completed within two months. Thereafter full performance appraisals will be completed within two weeks of each employee’s anniversary date of hire.
    Any changes to the performance appraisal system shall be negotiated between the Company and the Guild.
  • COMPANY: Essentially the same as the Guild’s counter proposal except that there shall only be a preview evaluation and one round of full appraisals before regular appraisals are performed within two weeks of an employee’s anniversary date.

REDUCTION IN FORCE — ARTICLE VII-B, SECTION 4

  • COMPANY: In the event of layoffs to reduce the workforce, our current language considering seniority within a job title would be used. However, an additional layer of department would be added. That is, layoffs would be considered by job title within a department rather than by job title across the newsroom. In addition, the company proposed that each side, company and guild, would be allowed to protect no more than two employees from being laid off.
    After the last day of the contract we are bargaining now, or after all employees have received their second full performance appraisals corresponding with their anniversary dates, whichever is later, layoffs shall be based on seniority, work record, the employee’s qualifications and ability to do the remaining work.
  • GUILD: Prior to the completion of the second full performance appraisal, the current layoff language considering seniority will be used except in the case of reporters who would use seniority by job title within a department. Departments are defined as Metro/Business, Sports and Features.
    After the second full performance appraisals are completed, determinations for layoffs shall be in reverse order of the total number of points. How points for each employee are calculated:
    — Two points for every year of service within a job title, up to a maximum of 50 points.
    — Up to 50 points for an employee’s performance appraisal. If an employee has not had a performance appraisal within six months prior to the notice of a layoff, the most recent appraisal may be revisited and updated.
    If two or more employees have the same total points, seniority with the company will be the tie breaker.
  • COMPANY: Prior to the completion of the second full performance appraisal, our current layoff language will apply by job title by department. Departments are Metro, Business, Sports, Features and Editorial Page. In addition, each party can protect one employee in a department.
    After the second full performance appraisals are completed, layoffs shall be by job title by department in reverse order of the total number of points. Points are determined as follows:
    — One point for every year of service within a job title, up to a maximum of 20 points.
    — Up to 80 points for the performance appraisal. If an employee has not had a performance appraisal within six months prior to the notice of a layoff, the most recent performance appraisal may be updated.
    If two or more employees subject to the layoff have the same total points, company seniority shall be the tie breaker.

EMPLOYEE SECURITY — ARTICLE VII-B, SECTION 5(a)

  • COMPANY: Change the language of our current contract to focus the provision solely on equipment (removing the term “processes”) and shorten the time periods to implement changes after the Guild has been notified of equipment changes. Current language is six months’ notice, if possible, but no less than three months’ notice. Company’s proposed time frame is three months, if possible, but no less than one months’ notice.
  • GUILD: Keep the current language intact, except agree to the company’s proposed time frame for notice.
  • COMPANY: The company agreed to the Guild’s counter proposal.

VIVA

  • The Guild had proposed bringing Viva Colorado employees currently working on the same floor as The Denver Post newsroom under the scope of the newsroom contract.
    COMPANY: The company maintained this issue was outside the scope of the newsroom contract asserting that Viva Colorado employees are covered by the non-newsroom Guild unit.
  • GUILD: The bargaining committee agreed to the company’s assertion. It should be noted that although the editorial portions of Viva Colorado are produced on the same floor as The Denver Post newsroom, they are working for the advertising department. Any work done by Denver Post newsroom employees for Viva must be approved by Post management and appropriately charged to Viva Colorado.
  • COMPANY: The company noted a tentative agreement.

HEALTH INSURANCE

  • COMPANY: Keeping the employees’ premium share for health insurance the same — 30 percent.
  • GUILD: Guild-covered newsroom employees should pay the same premium share for health insurance as the non-newsroom unit:
    — 22 percent for employee only
    — 26 percent for employee plus child
    — 30 percent for employee plus spouse or family
  • COMPANY: No change from initial proposal.

FUNERAL LEAVE — ARTICLE XVII, SECTION 3

  • The current contract states funeral leave must be taken within seven days of a death. We had discussed the possibility of allowing employees to schedule bereavement leave farther out than a week and arrived at a tentative agreement in early May.
    COMPANY: The key clause in the company’s proposal states: In order to be eligible to take such leave the employee must notify his/her supervisor within 5 business days of the death and schedule the date the leave will begin.
  • GUILD: The committee agreed with the company’s proposed language with the addition of adding that employees will work with their supervisor to schedule time off.
  • COMPANY: The company agreed to the Guild’s proposed addition.

GUILD MEMBERSHIP

  • COMPANY: If the bargaining committees reach agreement on all company and guild issues, all newsroom employees shall be required to join the Guild.
  • GUILD: The Guild bargaining committee agreed to the company’s proposal.

TERM OF CONTRACT

  • COMPANY: An 18-month contract term.
  • GUILD: 36 months.
  • COMPANY: No change from initial proposal.

In addition to the above issues outlined by the company, the Guild made the following proposals:

WAGES

  • GUILD: Across the board wage increases, except as outlined above for YourHub:
    — 2 percent increase to take effect Jan. 1, 2013.
    — 2 percent increase to take effect Jan. 1, 2014.
    — 3 percent increase to take effect Jan. 1, 2015.
    This 7 percent total increase corresponds to the change in the Consumer Price Index from 2008 to 2011. This means our wages in 2015 would be keeping pace with inflation for the past three years, albeit three years behind.
  • COMPANY: Freeze wages at their current levels.

EQUIPMENT

  • GUILD: $75 reimbursement of cell phone and data plans for employees required to have a cell phone.
  • COMPANY: Reimbursement of up to $50 for employees required to have a cell phone. Additional data plan reimbursement may be approved on a case-by-case basis.

WORKING IN A HIGHER CLASS

  • GUILD: Employees working more than one hour in any eight-hour shift in a higher wage classification shall be paid eight hours at the higher classification. Our current contract states the employee must work four or more hours in the higher classification to be paid eight hours at the higher rate.
    If an employee works in a higher wage classification 30 percent of the time during a three month period, the employee will advance to the higher classification.
  • COMPANY: Same as current contract.

We are scheduled to meet again on July 24.

Because of the Century Aurora 16 shootings, the July 24 bargaining session was cancelled. We have not yet scheduled another date.

We are scheduled to meet again on August 21.

Thomas McKay
Sara Burnett
Kieran Nicholson
Jim Ludvik
Kyle Wagner
Kevin Hamm
Tony Mulligan

Newsroom Bargaining: An Update

4 Jun

I apologize for not being more timely with these updates. I have spoken with all members who have inquired about bargaining developments, but I should have posted the following updates sooner. Please feel free to contact myself or any member of the bargaining team if you have questions. And feel free to post your comments below.

— Thomas McKay


REPRESENTATIVES OF THE GUILD newsroom unit and management met May 8,  9 and 24.

The May 8 and 9 sessions were spent discussing items that had already been identified. These included the company’s topics:

  • Freezing our local pension plan.
  • Elimination of the 401(k) match.
  • Modifying layoff language to something other than straight seniority in job title.
  • Creating a performance-appraisal system.
  • The new Assistant Editor position.

Issues brought forth by the Guild included:

  • YourHub wage increases and use of YourHub staffers for The Denver Post.
  • Adding Viva Colorado staffers to the newsroom unit.
  • Guild membership as a condition of employment.
  • Allowing funeral leave to be taken later than one week after a death. Under our current contract, all funeral leave must be taken within seven days of a death.
  • Purchase and/or reimbursement of newly required equipment — primarily smart phones and data plans.
  • Paid parking for employees on the breaking news team.

A subcommittee was set up to discuss in detail a possible performance-appraisal system. Before the May 24 bargaining session, the subcommittee met twice.

Most of the May 24 bargaining session was taken up by a report from the subcommittee and subsequent discussion regarding performance appraisals.

The subcommittee met again on May 30.

We have not set a date for our next bargaining session.

Thomas McKay
Sara Burnett
Kieran Nicholson
Jim Ludvik
Kyle Wagner
Kevin Hamm
Tony Mulligan

Guild Statement On Newsroom Layoffs

30 Apr

WE AT THE DENVER NEWSPAPER GUILD consider ourselves partners with Denver Post management in the effort to position the newsroom and the company to thrive in the new media environment. However, we disagree in the strongest possible terms with the company’s decision to lay off two-thirds of the paper’s copy editors. We feel it is a shortsighted cost-cutting measure that will irreparably damage The Denver Post.

A news organization serves a vital public role and must be viewed through a more complex lens than one that reduces the operation to just a bottom-line figure. For generations, professional editors represented by the Guild have helped make The Denver Post a trusted news source. This decision by the company could very well erode that hard-earned trust.

The media landscape continues to shift as new technologies demand new business strategies, but one thing must remain constant during this transition period: credibility. We understand the company needs flexibility to make decisions quickly, and we have afforded the company that flexibility with a labor agreement that allows the company to change newsroom operations and reduce the workforce. However, the Guild has serious doubts that the decision by management to slash the ranks of copy editors will result in a more efficient newsgathering process. Instead, we believe it will result in a loss of credibility as more mistakes and errors appear in print and online.

The Denver Post’s reputation is at stake.

The Guild will continue to advocate on behalf of not only Denver Post staff, but Denver Post readers.

Thomas McKay
Sara Burnett
Kieran Nicholson
Jim Ludvik
Kyle Wagner
Kevin Hamm
Tony Mulligan

Newsroom Bargaining: Session Eleven

24 Apr

REPRESENTATIVES OF THE GUILD newsroom unit and management met April 24.

This latest session, as well as our previous session, was focused solely on a company plan to streamline how we produce content. The company notified us during negotiations that they intend to reduce copy editors and other copy-editing-related positions. This does not mean our stories will no longer be copyedited. However, this plan will result in a change of workflow that will affect nearly every position in the newsroom. This is an action the company is pursuing under the current contract.

While the company’s plan will be a major change from how The Denver Post has operated, this move is not unprecedented in our industry. In 2010, The Minneapolis Star Tribune eliminated their copy desk. Closer to home, The Daily Camera in Boulder has operated for several years with no copy editors. In no way does this mean the change will be all for the better.

It is important to realize that the details have not been finalized. The bargaining committee will continue to offer input as this plan takes shape.

We encourage all members to attend Monday’s (April 30) staff meeting at 4 p.m. in the first-floor auditorium. Greg has promised to talk in more detail about the plan and take questions.

Our next bargaining sessions have been scheduled for May 8 and 9.

Thomas McKay
Sara Burnett
Kieran Nicholson
Jim Ludvik
Kyle Wagner
Kevin Hamm
Tony Mulligan

Newsroom Bargaining: Session Ten

11 Apr

REPRESENTATIVES OF THE GUILD and management met again April 11. We discussed the latest developments regarding Thunderdome and the previously discussed/proposed regional design centers.

The regional design center plan has been put on hold. Instead, the focus is on exploring efficiency and cost-cutting measures at the individual properties, including The Denver Post.

We have scheduled our next bargaining session for April 24.

Thomas McKay
Sara Burnett
Kieran Nicholson
Jim Ludvik
Kyle Wagner
Kevin Hamm
Tony Mulligan