The Guild’s bargaining committee and the company, in a series of meetings in July, continued to make progress toward completing a new contract.
The try for a “fast track” contract failed in June when the company rejected our final fast track offer. So this month we returned to traditional bargaining and both sides have worked earnestly toward completing a deal.
In all, agreement was reached on 33 contract provisions this month. This builds on 22 provisions that were agreed to earlier this year. This means more than two-thirds of the contract is now tentatively settled.
The remaining issues, mostly, are the big ones — arbitration rules, pay, vacation, holidays, personal days, sick time, mileage, layoff procedure, transfers, use of personal vehicles for work, transfer rules and a couple others items. We have two more sessions scheduled for August.
Here are the new tentative agreements reached this month (note: these are summaries of the provisions in layman’s terms, not actual contract language):
–The agreement is between the Dayton Newspaper Guild and Dayton Newspapers Inc. (doing business as Cox Ohio Publishing).
–The agreement will be in force for three years and will automatically be renewed for another year unless either party requests revisions within 60 days of expiration.
–Within 60 days of expiration, either the company or the Guild can initiate negotiations for a new contract. The terms of the old deal remain in effect until the end of the next negotiations.
–The company recognizes the Guild as the exclusive bargaining representative for all full- and part-time editorial employees and anyone who works in the department for at least 15 days in any calendar quarter, including the universal copy desk and anyone primarily providing content, editing or page design for the Dayton Daily News and its websites. These positions are excluded from the bargaining unit: editor in chief, managing editors, assistant managing editors, metro editor, assistant metro editors, regional editors, online editorial director, online editorial managers, nation/world editor, lifestyles editors, art editor, sports editor, business editor, editorial page editor, news desk editors, events editor and chief of photography.
–The company will deduct union contributions from the weekly earnings of employees who agree in writing.
–Temporary employees are defined as those who work less than four months. Temporary employees will not be used to eliminate full or part time employee’s hours or to replace them.
–The pay rates in the contract are minimum only. Employees can be paid increases based on merit. The publisher has the right to grant individual merit increases.
–Employees who move from classification B to classification A can count length of service from the first classification to determine salary in the new one.
–Employees who work as an editor receive $10 per shift. Employees can earn $50 per week for temporarily holding the following positions: assistant chief photographer, assistant news editor, assistant copy desk chief, Sunday news editor, assistant Neighbors editor for news or assistant Neighbors editor for sports.
–The company will pay expenses incurred by employees in accord with company policy in effect if expenses are approved in advance. The company will consider paying expenses that were necessary in cases where it is impossible to get prior approval.
–The work day will be eight hours, not counting lunch, and 40 hours a week. By mutual agreement, the work day can be 10 hours a day and 40 hours a week. The company must inform the union in advance when employees begin four-day work weeks and those employees have the option to return to five-day weeks every six months by mutual agreement. The company can cancel the four-day work week with a month’s notice to the employee.
–Full-time employees called back to work after the regular work day will be paid a minimum of four hours overtime at the rate of time and a half. Employees called in to work on a scheduled day off will be paid at the rate of time and a half for a minimum of eight hours. Part-time employees called in for unscheduled work will be paid a minimum of three hours straight time.
–Time spent traveling to and from an assignment will be considered working time for the employee.
–Employees will be scheduled with at least 10 hours between shifts except where mutually agreed by the employee and the company. In exceptional cases, employees can be required to work within the 10 hour period at the rate of time and a half.
–Work schedules will be posted without exceptions at least two weeks in advance. When changes are necessary, affected employees should be notified as soon as possible.
–An unpaid lunch period of one hour will be provided on each shift. Part time employees who work shifts more than five hours long will have the opportunity for a lunch hour.
–A shift cutting across two calendar days will be treated as worked on the day the shift began.
–An employee seeking to engage in any activity for pay that presents a potential conflict of interest (real or reasonably perceived by others), shall first obtain the approval of the appropriate Managing Editor and such approval shall be granted unless such work or activity constitutes a conflict of interest. The Managing Editor has the sole discretion to determine what constitutes conflict of interest, provided such determination is not arbitrary. No employee shall engage in any activity which constitutes a conflict of interest.
–The Guild and the Company recognize the importance of assuring impartial news reporting and protecting the credibility of the newspaper and its news staff. Newsroom employees may engage in volunteer activities outside working hours, provided they are not a conflict of interest.
–The company will not give employees assignments over their objection when there is a possible risk of physical injury. The employee has the right to: (a) refuse to accept an assignment or a job which the employee has reason to believe is hazardous or is performed under hazardous conditions; and (b) refuse to report for work because the employee has reasonable basis to believe that travel to or from work, or work at the employee’s place of work is hazardous, is hereby confirmed.
No employee shall be docked for work-time lost for: (a) exercising the aforesaid right to refuse an assignment, or job, or to report for work; or (b) inability to report for work because normal travel facilities are unavailable or inoperative and no practicable alternative is available or operative, due to natural phenomena or hazardous conditions created by human acts, including by way of example but not limited to, storm, flood, fire, explosion, riot or other civil disturbance or military or police operation.
–Employees will get a copy of any performance related materials placed in their personnel files and any response in writing will be included in the file. Employees can review their personnel files any time. Derogatory personnel records cannot be used for progressive discipline after three years if the employee has not been disciplined for the same offense in that time.
–At the Guild’s request, the company will provide the name, classification, salary, department, sex, race, date of birth and date of hire for all bargaining unit members.
–The company will provide information about training received by bargaining unit members.
–Employees can only be discharged without a written written warning and a chance to improve for these reasons — criminal acts while performing company business, behavior that creates a clear and present danger to employees or work operations, gross insubordination or proven dishonesty.
–In the even of a reduction in force, part-time employees will be dismissed in numbers equal or greater than one-half of the number of full-timers dismissed. After an employee has been laid off for one week, he or she may elect to treat the layoff as a dismissal and would be entitled to severance pay.
–Seniority is defined as an employee’s full-time total length of continuous employment with the Company, beginning with the date and hour on which the employee began work for the Company after last being hired. Part-time seniority is defined as a part-time employee’s total length of continuous employment with the Company as a part-timer.
–Seniority rights will be lost if (a) an employee quits of his/her own accord, or (b) an employee is dismissed for just and sufficient cause, or (c) an employee does not return to work when recalled into his/her classification, or (d) an employee is absent from the payroll continuously for more than 24 months due to dismissal resulting from a reduction in work force.
–Full-time employees who have completed probation and are dismissed for reasons other than committing criminal acts, creating a clear and present danger at work, proven dishonest or neglect of duty after a warning will receive a lump sum severance pay of one week’s pay for each six months of continuous service up to 24 years at the highest rate of weekly pay received in the prior 12 months.
–Up to five guild members may participate in bargaining during work hours without loss of pay.
–Employees who are elected to positions with the national union may take unpaid leave for up to three consecutive years.
–The company agrees to provide a flexible benefit program and 401K to editorial employees in accordance with the terms of the plan offered companywide unless both side agreed to a change.
–The company will provide pension benefits in accordance with the terms of the plan offered on a companywide basis.
–Any employee discounts or other fringe benefits made available to other company employees will also be made available to editorial employees on the same terms.