January 21, 2010

Bargaining Update 01.21.10

We've spent another day at the bargaining table with the company.

The company began the January 21st session with more details on their health care and retirement proposals — and we'll talk more next week about those, along with premium pay, job security and shift differentials —but it has become increasingly clear that what the company really wants is a blanket "bargaining waiver" on the central benefits now in the contract.

In years past, we've hammered out the details of medical plans, severance packages, seniority, outsourcing penalties, etc. at the bargaining table —producing a written contract: a set of written and enforceable guarantees for you.

In essence, the Company is telling us it is willing to talk about the details of those packages in this round of bargaining, but once we reach an agreement, Dow Jones wants a "blanket waiver" so that it'll never have to discuss those issues with IAPE again, with the lone guarantee that benefits will match those provided to Dow Jones non-union staff, managers, and executives.

Dow Jones never again wants to bargain about Medical Plans (including retiree medical), Retirement Savings Plans, Disability Benefit Plans, Vacations/Personal Days & Holidays, Relocation Policy and Severance Pay (& other post-termination benefits including retraining, outplacement, and extended medical coverage) — and will be free to make any changes it wants to make in those benefit packages unilaterally — at any time, for any reason. The company also wants to end cost of living protections and wage increases now spelled out in the contract and roll out "merit pay," leaving any wage increase you receive entirely to a manager's discretion.

The IAPE Bargaining Committee has made it clear that a contract has to include written and enforceable guarantees.

Now is not the time for rhetoric, and your Committee is not interested in "demonizing" the Company, but "trust me" is not a substitute for a contract.

We'll be back at the bargaining table next Thursday, looking for the protections you need. In the meantime, management needs to hear from you, and we'll be happy to pass on your comments. We welcome your input.

IAPE Bargaining Committee
Steve Yount
Bob Kozma
Rob Johnson
Patricia Corley
Erin Rodgers
Andy Georgiades
Amy Merrick
Bruce Nelson
Tim Martell