Session II: Steps in the Right Direction

In our second negotiating session, IAPE’s bargaining committee heard the company’s response to the union’s proposal, which is aimed at providing forward-looking protections critical to our members’ security.

While there are still substantial areas of disagreement between us—including on job security, seniority, benefits, severance and layoff procedure and compensation, among other items—the union was heartened by a productive discussion on other points.

In particular, the company has said it is open to our proposals for allowing more employees to realize salary increases by moving through the tiers, for more diversity hiring and for increases to emergency childcare and shift differential.

We also appreciated the clarification that the company doesn’t intend to eliminate time off for union work or the full-time release position guaranteed in our contract.

Though we expect significant negotiation over what the union sees as necessary improvements to our current collective bargaining agreement, we will continue to seek common ground to reach an agreement.

Our next negotiating session is June 20 and the union will provide a response to the company’s proposal and we anticipate a more involved debate about our corresponding proposals.   

We know that members are going through the annual performance review process and many are asking for merit raises. While both sides are still working out appropriate figures for the guaranteed annual increase, we want to remind you that there is nothing that prevents the company from giving a merit raise while we are negotiating the wage portions of our next contract.

How Long Negotiations May (or May Not) Take

With bargaining underway, a member recently reached out to the bargaining committee asking an important question: How long have past negotiations for contracts taken? The question is timely, and it’s important to look back to get a better understanding of how long this year’s negotiations may—or may not—take.

Our executive director, Tim Martell, provided some details. Here’s a recent history of our past few bargaining sessions:

2016:

  • We opened negotiations on June 14 in that year, announcing a tentative agreement five months later on November 14. That contract was ratified by members on November 28.

2015 & 2014:

  • One-year extensions were negotiated in these two years, with those agreements not requiring significant negotiations and were concluded within a month.

2009:

  • Negotiations for the 2010-14 contract began on Dec. 11, 2009, and finished up three months later on March 18, 2010. This was when the contract did not mirror the Dow Jones fiscal year. Members approved the contract on April 30, 2010.

2007:

  • These contract negotiations started on Nov. 6, 2006, and finished after a meeting of the IAPE Board of Directors on Oct. 3, 2007. The contract was approved shortly after on Oct. 12, 2007.

2003 & 2004

  • Bargaining for these negotiations was conducted in two parts after members rejected a tentative agreement in late 2003 and talks continued into the following year. In total, those contract talks ran from April 2003 until members approved the new contract in October 2004.

A Summary of Proposals Presented by Dow Jones

The proposal that company representatives presented at our first negotiating session offered little detail on the specific changes sought in our collective bargaining agreement, but gave an overview of significant modifications to important protections that have existed for union members for many years.

The proposal is nearly identical to those presented in previous bargaining years. IAPE will continue to fight for your benefits and push back on the company’s attempt to erode union protections.

Here is a summary:  

Benefits:
Dow Jones is seeking to set plan terms—and to unilaterally modify plan design and premium structure—each year and to have employees contribute at “competitive levels.” The company is looking to discontinue the fitness reimbursement and move union-represented employees to the Virgin Pulse program.

Wage Increases:
The company said it expects that we will negotiate “appropriate” increases as part of the contract and is looking for flexibility in its overall wage package to, among other things, make sure there is a budget for merit increases and to address pay equity concerns.

The proposal also eliminates the automatic cost of living adjustment in our current contract.

Comp time and Premium Pay:
For overtime-exempt employees, the company is proposing to eliminate all premium pay and count all hours worked on a scheduled day off as comp time. Representatives have said they will provide details on a simplified process for tracking and cashing out comp time. They are also seeking to cap comp time at 10 hours in a single day.

Seniority in Layoffs:
The company is proposing to effectively end seniority protections by using merit—defined as skill, ability, and past job performance—as the first criteria during reductions in force.

Performance Reviews:
The company’s proposal says union members “may be required” to provide self evaluations and suggested goals.

Leave Entitlements:
Dow Jones is seeking to eliminate the time off for union work guaranteed under our collective bargaining agreement, including the full-time release position held by the President.

Session 1: Focus, Clarity and Purpose

After months of discussions with members, careful reflection on the shortcomings of our current contract and an assessment of changes in the industry, IAPE’s bargaining committee yesterday presented Dow Jones representatives with a comprehensive proposal for our next collective bargaining agreement.

We’ve told you the union’s proposals offer a balanced solution to many concerns raised by IAPE members through the course of our preparation that gives the company flexibility in managing the business. But one that recognizes the critical role of employees in making Dow Jones great and helping it weather some of the media industry’s most turbulent periods.

We were disappointed in the company’s presentation—both for its lack of detail and because of changes to benefits, seniority and layoff procedure that would be detrimental for our members. But we realize this is the start of a discussion, and we remain focused on pushing for a productive dialogue to reach a tentative agreement by the end of August, when an automatic extension of our current contract expires.

Here is an overview of our proposals. Our next negotiating session is planned for Tuesday, June 11. Please stay tuned to our bargaining page for post-session updates and information about location meetings. Please reach out to your location director with any questions.

Healthcare and Benefits

The union has proposed a return to cost sharing and premium structures at 2018 rates.

In the last round of negotiations, we reluctantly agreed to the so-called glide path that allowed for yearly increases to cost sharing in response to the company’s insistence that the Cadillac Tax would be implemented. It was not. According to our analysis, the company’s costs for healthcare have been effectively flat and we think our proposal is a more-than-fair response to the increases our members have already faced since 2016.

We’re also asking for:

  • A wider network of covered mental health providers

  • Kaier Health option for members in California and Maryland

  • Maintaining a reimbursement for fitness and wellness activities

Parental Leave (Article XIV)

  • Codify the 20 weeks provided by the company

  • Remove distinction between primary and secondary caregiver

  • Preserve the ability to take unpaid leave for six added weeks

Retirement Plans (Article XVIII)

  • Protection of existing retirement contributions

  • Adding Roth 401(k) option

Compensation:

The bargaining committee is working hard to calculate the annual compensatory increases we’ll seek for the term of the next contract. We will provide more details on our wage proposals as we finalize the numbers.

Among our requests:

  • Increases to Shift Differential and Stand By pay rates

  • Better alignment of salaries to our tier structure and a clearer progression towards pay raises

  • More balance between annual raises for IAPE members and compensation received by non-union employees

  • Greater opportunities for added compensation

  • Better parameters for compensation for work outside of regular schedules

Job Security:

  • Limitations on the company’s ability to remove work out of the bargaining unit in favor of temporary workers, freelancers and contract workers

  • More training

  • Greater job protection when the company shifts work or if the company is sold in whole or in part

  • Enhanced severance pay

  • Transparency surrounding the hiring process and job transfers

  • Increased protections for remote workers

Other Items:

  • Return to previous thresholds for expense reports

  • Guarantees on employees’ rights to a desk

  • Added requirements for diversity hiring

  • Greater privacy protections while communicating on or with company networks

Bargaining 2019 FAQ

What is collective bargaining?

Collective bargaining is the formal process through which employees negotiate wages, health care, safety, due process and other employment terms and conditions with their employer. At Dow Jones, the designated representative for union members is IAPE, which has negotiated collective bargaining agreements (CBA) for represented employees for more than 80 years.

When does bargaining begin?

Our current contract is set to expire June 30 and the union anticipates beginning negotiations before then. The terms of our agreement will continue automatically for 60 days after expiration. In past years, the union and company have agreed to extend the terms until a new contract was agreed upon.

How does it work?

IAPE’s bargaining committee made up of mostly rank-and-file union members has been crafting proposals, advancements to the 26 articles in our CBA, based on member feedback and mindful of changes at Dow Jones and the industry. The company will have its own proposals and will be represented by staff from legal, HR and benefits.

How do we get what we want?

Your bargaining committee has put careful consideration into this year’s proposals and will need member support to be successful at the table. That may mean attending a meeting, sharing updates from the committee with your colleagues and joining in other activities to let the company know that the union’s demands have your backing.

How can I learn more and get involved?

We are recruiting members in all locations to serve as stewards and to help with mobilization as negotiations move forward. Contact the mobilization committee, your representative or the union office.