Friday, March 6, 2009

Bee Guild votes YES on management proposal of layoffs and wage cuts... 65% of Guild vote in favor of contract

The Sacramento Bee newspaper Guild voted Friday to accept management's proposal of layoffs, wage reductions, and unpaid furloughs. Here's the Guild press release:

California Media Workers Guild
Contacts: Wendy Mejia 916-716-2783, Ed Fletcher 916-524-0775

Sacramento Bee newsroom and advertising employees voted Friday to accept a 6 percent wage cut for most employees, in addition to other cost cutting concessions.

The vote, ratifying the company’s contract proposal, saves 19 jobs that Bee managers had threatened to otherwise add to the guild-covered 34 jobs already slated for elimination. But it means all Guild-represented employees must accept pay cuts starting in April, potential furloughs in the second half of 2009, and a cap on vacation accrual.

The contract was approved with the support of 65 percent of the voting members.

“This was one of those plug your nose kind of votes,” said Ed Fletcher, the Sacramento unit chair for the California Media Workers Guild, which represents 268 of The Bee’s 1,126 full- and part-time workers.

“On one hand, our members are committed to saving jobs, protecting the long-term interests of The Bee, and fostering good journalism. But on the other hand, many employees grew frustrated the company wouldn’t listen to our cost-cutting measures that inflected less pain on employees.”

“Why force people out the door when the workforce could be reduced through voluntary buyouts?” Fletcher asked.

The Guild also had hoped to negotiate an agreement with the company that there would be no further layoffs through the end of the year. Without that agreement, members are literally sticking their neck out to save the jobs of others and getting no assurance theirs won’t be next on the chopping block.

“In the end, employees recognized we were between a rock and a larger rock. We chose the less sharp rock,” Fletcher said.

Without the pay cuts, 53 newsroom and advertising employees would have been laid off, further damaging our news operation at a critical time for our industry.

The Modesto Bee Guild votes Monday, and the Fresno Bee Guild votes Tuesday.

For a comprehensive list of McClatchy layoffs, click here.


Anonymous said...

Told you so. It was a no brainer. This isn't really a union. These folks are the same one's that sold out their brothers and sisters years ago and those who are not are direct beneficiaries of the treachery and betrayal by their peers.

That said, the sincerest respect and best wishes to those that stood for honor and decency despite the personal hardships a no vote would have brought upon you.

As for the rest, (yes voters)what can I say? Still cowards after all these years...or...If you were dying in the desert I wouldn't offer you a drink of water. Now live in shame for the rest of your life in exchange for a few more weeks pay.

Anonymous said...

uh oh! McClatchy Watch is pissing off the KC Star again!

From Bottomline:


Anonymous said...

Well, a few more week's pay might make a huge difference. I'll bet the home computers will be humming this weekend as they post resumes. The editorial people think they will march right out and into fabulous jobs, you know. They are not a humble lot. They will be outraged when they don't get a suitable job right away and find themselves on job stations at K-Mart, Target, Safeway, etc. I hope they wise up fast and take whatever job they find.

Anonymous said...

I'm a little mixed up by all the controversy between a "no" or "yes" vote? Where a yes vote is considered a shameful choice.

Maybe Sacramento is different due to the amount of people involved, where wage cuts would have a greater impact over the small amount of additional layoffs from a no vote. While in Modesto, the extra layoffs would be much more destructive at 42%.

Shouldn't the main goal be to save as many jobs as possible? A pay cut seems like a small sacrifice to save jobs. To some, maybe that drop in wage is like a slap in the face, and that if they lost their job, they might be under the impression they could find something right away. Though, many don't see it that way, and some can't leave for any job because they're stuck in a house with no value. Even if these don't pass, who says there wouldn't be wage cuts around the corner, possibly worse than if you took them before. Though, the same can be said the other way, where the jobs saved today may be on the chopping block in no time.

A yes vote at least helps stall things a bit, minimize damages. A no vote, to me, seems like giving up, pushing the situation to hit rock bottom faster. Either way, by the end, outcome will probably be the same, at least a yes vote there's a possibility some jobs will be saved vs deflecting a few wage cuts.

This is just the way I see it, please don't take offense or yell, I just want to understand better.

Anonymous said...

uh oh! McClatchy Watch is pissing off the KC Star again!

From Bottomline:


From Bottomline: "the dreaded 'I'm rubber, your glue" defense.

That's fantastic.

Anonymous said...

7:02 p.m.-
From bitter experience, I can tell you there is no underestimating the underhandedness of McClatchy management. I don't have any quarrel with a yes vote, except that these are the same people who have been so quick to judge so many so often. You've read it all here...smug, self-righteous, racist. But racist in a good way, they despise most of the working whites in their circulation area. Now coworkers hate each other and there's animosity. Many of us are all too happy to know these effers are frying in their own fat. This is not a group that has earned a lot of sympathy.

Anonymous said...

...Kevin, your Lede correctly uses the term " Mangement " in describing McClatchy. I see the hand of Sigmund himself in this, and I like it.

Anonymous said...

Here's how The Bee reports the Guild vote:

Sacramento Bee Guild agrees to pay cuts
By Dale Kasler
Published: Friday, Mar. 6, 2009 - 5:05 pm
Last Modified: Friday, Mar. 6, 2009 - 5:55 pm

The Bee's unionized news and advertising employees agreed today to a pay-cut plan that reduces the number of layoffs at the newspaper.

The vote by the California Media Workers Guild means as many as 34 unionized news and advertising workers will be laid off. If the Guild had rejected the pay cuts, the layoffs would have totaled as many as 53. The Guild represents about 270 of The Bee's 1,120 employees.

Additional layoffs affecting other departments, as well as non-union news and advertising workers, are expected to be announced next week.

The cutbacks are part of a drive by The Bee's owner, The McClatchy Co. of Sacramento, to cut annual operating expenses by up to $110 million. It represents the third major cutback since June for McClatchy, which is coping with a significant decline in profits and revenue that has afflicted the entire newspaper industry.

As many as 26 unionized newsroom jobs will disappear, representing about 11 percent of the total.

Under the deal accepted by the Guild, wages will be cut by up to 6 percent depending on the individual's current salary, starting in April. The Bee could also impose unpaid one-week furloughs in the second half of the year.

Linda Brooks, the newspaper's vice president for human resources, said the paper was "very grateful" for the vote.

Ed Fletcher, a Bee reporter and Guild unit chair, said the outcome wasn't worth celebrating. "There really was no way to win in this vote," he said.

The plan passed with 65 percent approval.

Anonymous said...

It should be "manglement" or maybe "mengelement" after Josef Menegele.

Anonymous said...

7:53...nice. I like both of those. Also, "mangyment" seems somehow fitting.

Kevin Gregory said...

Dave D -- typo fixed, thanks!

Anonymous said...

Hey, Gary Pruitt, your Jimmy Swaggart sized ego and greed are the only reasons this once noble company is where it is today. Not the economy. Tell your Ed's to stop lying for you. And to be stonewalling the public about the peril of their only watchdog in most of these markets (The Bees for example) is abhorrent. My guess is you will cling to your sense of entitlement extending your culpability to those hundreds of thousands as well. Give your salary back now and put it above the fold.