Bargaining Update: Trading Insults

Union and Company representatives met again yesterday for a full day of contract negotiations. IAPE opened the meeting with its ninth proposal document and addressed all outstanding items.

Dow Jones, clearly offended by the Union's continued demand for wage increases in excess of 4%, responded with a proposal holding to their earlier pay offer: 2% in each year of the next contract. Industry standards, and all that. Same as non-union Dow Jones staff.

No disrespect to non-Union staff, but IAPE members have spoken: they demand more.

Union members responding to yesterday's survey on the Dow Jones 2% proposal were clear: 79.66% of members who responded (698 respondents out of 1,307 eligible IAPE-represented employees) said they would not accept an annual 2% wage increase. 40% of IAPE members responding rate the Company offer as "poor," 35.43% of those members called it "insulting."

13.14% of respondents opted to attribute their own term to the DJ proposal. Inadequate, insufficient, disrespectful, pathetic and sickening were among the most colorful.

Only one IAPE member rated the Company's proposal as "favorable." 1.43% of the membership participating in the survey called it a "fair" proposal — 9.71% said it was "acceptable."

The most significant bargaining move yesterday on the part of the Union was an offer to accept Dow Jones projections for 2018 and 2019 healthcare in return for reasonable wage increases. The Company has predicted stability in healthcare for those years, with relatively small deductible increases in 2018 POS II coverage and out-of-pocket maximum increases in 2019 CDHP and POS II coverage, and no additional cost-shifting in prescription coverage for the life of our next contract.

But 2% clearly won't seal that deal.

The Union and the Company have already reached agreement on a cap of 0.5% of salary on annual healthcare premium increases, and we have a new deal on salary threshold for vacation sell back (going forward, employees earning $1,250 per week or less will be able to sell one week of vacation back to Dow Jones). Some other management moves — like those on shift differential, standby pay and holiday pay — are certainly worth consideration.

Dow Jones and IAPE reps will meet again next Tuesday in an attempt to bridge the gap in contract proposals. In the meantime, continued visible support for the Union is so important, and so is your feedback.

UPDATE: As of the close of the survey period — 4:00 PM today — survey results are as follows: 772 respondents, 80.26% Yes, 19.74% No; 1.30% Fair, 9.33% Acceptable, 40.67% Poor, 35.62% Insulting, 12.95% Other (and still just one vote for favorable).