Negotiations are underway in Springfield

The United Media Guild has started negotiations with GateHouse for our first collective bargaining agreement at the State Journal-Register in Springfield.

Our unit chair there, Dean Olsen, posted a detailed account of the first two sessions in the SJR blog. Our Springfield members are prepared to fight hard to gain the protections they deserve. Newsroom employees voted the Guild in 26-4 and they stand ready to support their bargaining team in every way possible.

The UMG represents employees at two other GateHouse properties, the Peoria Journal Star and the Pekin Daily Times. We helped our members at those properties to gain and maintained important protections — and we will do everything possible to help our people in Springfield achieve the same.

“Our unit is proposing language that would prohibit layoffs during the term of the contract unless the company is able to prove to the unit that any layoffs would be necessary for the newspaper to survive,” Olsen wrote.” Our unit is proposing language that would only allow termination for “just cause,” a huge change from the current system in which the company can fire someone for virtually any reason. Our union is proposing a fair, progressive system of discipline, pay enhancements for night work, enhanced benefits for part-timers and extra pay for Guild members when they perform work normally done by management.

“We also are proposing language to protect people from discipline when having to juggle additional work created by GateHouse’s Design House in Rockford. And we will be proposing reasonable pay increases when we meet next with GateHouse in early April.”