Session 7: Picking Up the Pace

IAPE’s bargaining committee offered Dow Jones representatives a revised proposal at our negotiation yesterday, highlighting areas where we think we can reach an easier compromise. 

The union said it was open to the company’s proposal on vacation accrual terms for employees who are leaving the company, while reaffirming our proposal to allow all members to sell back or carry over a week of vacation at the end of the year.

We also moved towards common ground on our proposal to extend an employee’s discretion to receive an extra day’s pay instead of an extra day off when working on the July 4th holiday (or the August Civic Day holiday for members in Canada). Our current contract allows automatic cash out for holidays worked after Sept. 1. 

The company also agreed to the union’s proposal that would allow members who become disabled while on an unpaid leave to be eligible for short term and long term disability. 

Thursday we will present our proposal for guaranteed annual raises, which we know is one of the most critical items in our contract for our members. We are also planning for a substantive discussion on our proposals related to job security, severance, part time and contract workers and job postings. 

Please check back on Friday, when we will be able to share more details about the raise we are seeking for IAPE members for the term of the next contract.

Session 6: Bargaining 101

Dow Jones presented the union with a second proposal during our July 9th negotiation, but offered no changes to its position on major items that we know are most important to our members. 

While the company seeks to erode safeguards in our contract including eliminating seniority protections, removing the cost-of-living clause and, critically, ending the union’s right to negotiate health care and other benefits on behalf of our members, we will continue to fight for a fair agreement. 

Collective bargaining is a process where both sides meet and consider one another’s proposals in a good faith effort to reach a deal that balances company flexibility with the security employees need. The ability to negotiate terms of benefits that make up a significant portion of our members’ compensation is not a point we consider up for debate. 

Next week, IAPE will present our updated proposal to company representatives, including revisions on items where we are trying to reach an appropriate compromise. We expect to push for detailed discussions on job security, benefits and wages in coming weeks. 

Stay tuned to your inbox for details on a bargaining update meeting at your location. 

Session 5: Pay and Progress 

Pay and advancement are among the top concerns for our members and yesterday we presented Dow Jones representatives with our proposal to bring more transparency to the process for both. 

We outlined a plan for adjustments to the job tiers and minimum pay scales in several job categories to better align with how members are currently paid. The most significant change we presented is for a 12-year career path for reporters with an automatic progression towards the senior special writer title and clear stepups in pay along the way.

The company said it would review our recommended measures for giving employees more certainty around pay raises and career progress. We expect further discussion before we reach an agreement on the minimum scales and pathway for advancement we’ve proposed. 

As we have passed the June 30 deadline for our contract we want to remind members that we are now operating under the 60-day automatic extension, which means the current agreement will be in place until the end of August. In the past, the union and company have usually agreed to allow the terms to continue after the extension period while we work out a deal. 

We are still working on a final presentation for the annual compensatory increases guaranteed in our contract and understand the importance of the yearly pay bump to our members. The bargaining committee appreciates your support as we continue to push for a contract that offers long-term security. 

Our next negotiating session is Tuesday, July 9, in Princeton where we will hear a presentation on the company’s second proposal. 

Have a great Fourth, and if you are working, don’t forget to file for holiday pay. 

Session 4: More On Health Care


After our first negotiating session on benefits with Dow Jones representatives, it is clear the discussion about what the union views as an acceptable level of cost sharing for our members will continue through at least another session. 

Most of yesterday’s meeting was devoted to a confidential presentation from the company’s bargaining committee outlining increases to premiums, co-pays, deductibles, coinsurance and out-of-pocket maximums for all members after 2020.

We asked them to explain the rationale for the increases we were shown and have told the company we’ll need to share more detailed information with you to reach any agreement on health care—which is a significant part of your compensation for working here.

We also requested details of the analysis from an external consultant they used to justify projected increases as we review our position and move towards a deal that we think is fair for our members. 

The company says it needs flexibility to plan. We know you also need to know what to expect in your paycheck and budget. We’re confident they can achieve flexibility without making an even more dramatic shift of costs to employees—or telling employees we have no right to negotiate on health care terms. 

Session 3: A Firm Response, Showing Your Support

In our third negotiating session, IAPE’s bargaining committee offered the union’s response to the company’s proposal and reiterated our stance to our corresponding requests.

Specifically, we told the company that we couldn’t accept their changes to layoff procedure as we see them as an effective elimination of seniority protections and cited the leeway that already exists in our contract during job cuts. We were met with silence from company representatives.

We also pushed back on the company’s proposal to eliminate the Cost of Living Adjustment clause in our collective bargaining agreement, an important provision meant to provide members added security in the event that inflation wipes out the negotiated compensatory increase in any contract year. And we told the company that we were opposed to making self assessments and goal-setting a mandatory component of the performance review process. We hold our position that it is management’s job to review employees’ performance.

There were some areas of understanding, including that current requirements for reporting to the office to be eligible for extra pay on a scheduled day off were out of date. We expect further discussion next week on the proposal to move away from premium pay to comp time and for a more simplified process to cash out time earned for work on a scheduled day off for overtime exempt employees.

We’ve told the company that we are open to the Virgin Pulse program as a choice for our members, as long as there remains a reimbursement option.

We will discuss the fitness benefit more as part of the broader discussion on health care at our next meeting on Tuesday. We expect it to be an intense negotiation, given the distance between the union’s position on the protections our members deserve and the company’s desire to change premiums and plan terms every year—as well as to remove the union’s ability to bargain over health benefits from our contract.

The June 25 negotiation will take place in Princeton and we’re asking all members to wear black that day to show your support for the bargaining committee. We will be making the case to hold cost sharing for health insurance at a level that we think is more than reasonable given the increases since our last negotiation. We’ve made clear that the previous contract was ratified in a different business environment, and now that the company’s performance is on a more solid footing, it is time to rethink the cost sharing increases allowed in 2016.

Session 2: 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.