United Media Guild members at the Pekin Daily Times unanimously approved a new two-year collective bargaining agreement with GateHouse Media.
In face of plummeting circulation at the newspaper and ongoing employee turnover, our members favored expedited bargaining that focused on a few key issues.
In an addition to providing a signing bonus, the new contract included several important points:
- The addition of seven new paid days off — five personal days and two floating holidays.
- A new monthly stipend for the use of a cell phone on the job.
- The continuation of the GateHouse company incentive bonuses, which our members have collected several times.
- A new minimum rate established for the company’s adjustable mileage reimbursement, which rises and falls according to prevailing fuel prices. Previously their was no reimbursement floor.
- Strengthened seniority protections. In the absence of employee evaluations, layoffs will occur in inverse order of seniority.
- Strengthened vacation request policy. The company must now approve or reject vacation requests within 14 days. Due to concerns created by short staffing, management had put off ruling on some requests for months.
Once again the UMG’s primary objective during negotiations was keeping the Daily Times operating in Pekin in the face of GateHouse consolidations in the region.
Due to our contract in place there, the company earlier rolled the operations of neighboring weekly properties into the Daily Times, not the other way around.