Soon the United Media Guild will start expedited bargaining with Post-Dispatch management for a new collective bargaining agreement.
Our current CBA expires Sept. 27. Rather than engage in comprehensive bargaining over dozens of topics, the UMG and the company will focus on a handful of critical issues to see if we can strike a deal.
We hope to start bargaining sometime in July and conclude the negotiations within weeks.
After reviewing dozens of negotiation questionnaires filled out by our members, the UMG has set two priorities for this contract:
1) Restore lost wages. Our members in most classifications suffered 6 percent wage cuts in the previous contract and also endured unpaid furloughs. Meanwhile the cost of living increased, as did the out-of-pocket expenses for those using the Lee Enterprises medical plan.
2) Protect our salespeople from drastic earnings losses caused by company actions. Those would include altering sales plans, client lists and territory assignments.
Additional negotiating priorities will be discussed by members of the bargaining oversight committee, which features a broad cross-section of UMG members. This oversight committee will monitor and advise the bargaining team led by business representatives Shannon Duffy and Mary Casey and Post-Dispatch unit chair Joe Holleman.
The oversight committee will meet for the first time Tuesday, June 30 at 6:15 p.m. at the UMG office at 1015 Locust, Suite 735. Then will meet with the bargaining team periodically to discuss negotiating developments and strategies.
We hope to bring a proposal to a full membership vote by the end of the summer. Should expedited bargaining fail to produce a contract our members approve, we will shift to more traditional negotiations that could extend well past the expiration of our current contract.
In that case our members would continue working under terms of the old contract, thanks to the evergreen clause that keeps our protections in place while we negotiate.