By a vote of 8 to 1, the Guild’s KDSK Bargaining Unit – a rather eclectic unit comprising 17 members from four different classifications – approved a one-year deal with the station yesterday afternoon.
The Guild represents directors, finance and building maintenance personnel, as well as production assistants at the Gannett-owned station and their expiring contract contained wage concessions that the Guild was looking to restore this time around.
At the outset, the station asked for a one-year extension with no changes and that proposal was put to a vote and rejected. Soon afterwards bargaining began in earnest.
The Guild’s bargaining team consisted of Shannon Duffy and Mary Casey from this office, as well as Unit Chair Mike Daugherty and Phil Evans (directors) and Danny Spina (bldg maintenance). They were accompanied by the Reverend Rudy Pulido, baptist minister, community activist and member of the JwJ Workers Rights Board. On the other side of the table were various members of KSDK management and William Behan, Senior Vice President of Labor Relations from Gannett headquarters in Virginia.
As negotiations proceeded, it became clear that Gannett, for whatever reasons, was not in a mood to talk about restoring past wage rates but other things were becoming clear as well. For instance, communities of interest in our metropolitan area were expressing solidarity with our struggle and the members themselves were beginning to come together and talk about supporting one another in real and substantive ways. Meetings were held not just among unit members but with members of other unions. This office met with other union leaders and staff as workers began to unite for mutual support. And what resulted, at the end of the day, might not be a great contract but might, in fact, be a beginning.
The newly-approved contract runs for one year and expands the rehire list from 12 months to three years. That provision may help someone who’s job has been eliminated to regain employment, should circumstances change or improve at the station. In addition, one-half of our members will have their wages frozen. The other half, the lower-paid production assistants, will receive an immediate 10% raise.
Congratulations to membership for sticking together and getting a contract in these difficult times. And congratulations to our bargaining committee, as well. To me, what is most noteworthy is the fact that our team consisted of three individuals (Mike, Phil and Danny) who will take the freeze and not one person who will receive the raise. That, I think, screams solidarity.
So thanks to one and all! We will sign the contract soon and, once that is done, the PA’s raise should commence with the start of the next pay period.
And a big thank you to Reverend Pulido and the Workers Rights Board!