Regarding the SJ-R vote:

Three ballots were distributed at last night’s contract ratification vote in Springfield, IL.  Two dealt with how parts of the contract – should it be ratified – would unfold.  The first set of options was to determine how the bargaining unit wanted to ‘catch up’ with the premium rates the other (non-union) SJ-R employees are paying (because, during bargaining, our people have not had their premiums increased) and our members voted unanimously for the less expensive ramp up.

The second ballot was to determine if our members wanted to receive a $600 bonus upon signing the contract and then another $600 next year and the following year.  Or they could vote to have a union shop and dues check off.  The message from GateHouse was clear and unmistakable:  We’ll give you $1800 to have an open shop and a weak union.  And again, UMG members voted as a bloc  – and REJECTED the attempted bribe.

Finally, the third ballot was to accept or reject the contract – with whatever options the membership had chosen.  And once more, the vote was unanimous (ed note:  The vote was conducted by secret ballot with election tellers who were not part of the bargaining team).

We are scheduled to sit down with GateHouse again in Springfield at 10:00 a.m. on February 11.