August 31, 2016

Bargaining: Pressing Pause

Between our 2% survey and discussions at the bargaining table last week, we thought our message was pretty clear: we're tired of losing half our raises (or more) each year to healthcare cost shifting. We keep hearing we're the premier news organization in the world, yet we're underpaid compared to peers at The New York Times and The Washington Post. Dow Jones needs to pay more.

Yesterday, Dow Jones reps responded with more of the same and a message of their own: you're gonna have to convince somebody who sets wage policy.

With no further talks scheduled until September 13th, looks like we'll have to take advantage of this pause in contract negotiations to do just that.


Yesterday, the Union opened with its tenth proposal document, offering movement in wages and introductory scales, solutions on premium pay, comp time and pay equity language, and accepting Dow Jones positions on shift differential, standby pay, vacation carryover and emergency childcare.

IAPE held on a number of positions, including premium-free healthcare coverage for members in Canada. The Union reminded Dow Jones reps that an employee working in a Canadian city earning $60,000 per year would take home the equivalent of $7,500 less than a U.S.-based employee paid the same salary, thanks to current exchange rates.

Dow Jones responded with its ninth proposal — a document very similar to its eighth: no movement on wages, no changes to demands for COLA changes and only comp time for travel, and the same positions on Canadian health plan premiums and contract language covering incentive plans.

IAPE representatives took the Dow Jones team to task, noting that — since 9/11 — the IAPE-represented population has continuously been asked to pay for management mistakes. Employees are tired of being on the short end of errors like the Lexastrophe and repeated renovations and cosmetic changes.

(Do we really need another logo update or a new neon sign?)

The Dow Jones team assured IAPE reps that all Union proposals are shared with senior management — but as a Union, we believe our message has to be made more clearly.


So, with this pause in contract talks, IAPE activists are fast-forwarding plans for IAPE visibility. Last week, staff at the IAPE-represented Washington, DC bureau sent a letter to Dow Jones CEO Will Lewis urging him to "intervene with DJ's representatives and make clear that their mission should be your vision: to collaborate with IAPE to come up with a fair compensation package that makes employees perceptibly better off and allows everyone to get back to the business of truly making DJ United." Similar letters are circulating in Chicago, San Francisco and New York, and we'll have one for South Brunswick members to sign tomorrow.

Other IAPE actions will follow.

In the meantime, remember, tomorrow (and every pay day) is #WSJunionmade t-shirt day. Wear your t-shirts (or something black or red), tweet and post your photos (or send them to us), and please support the IAPE bargaining effort by signing our Letters to Lewis.

And, of course, if you want to express your opinion on the latest Union or Company proposals, feel free to send in your Contract Comments.

We have until September 13th to convince senior management we're all worth more.

(A note on process: until that time, we are still working under a valid contract. Our initial 60-day extension was set to expire yesterday — IAPE and DJ have agreed to a 30-day extension while we continue to negotiate toward a final deal. The same should be true for our separate contract in Bowling Green, OH, where negotiations for a new contract will finally begin today.)