The company (Modesto Bee) came to the table (Monday), as expected, with a proposal for layoffs, wage cuts, furloughs and vacation accrual reductions. Because we are still negotiating a full contract, they asked us to vote only on these provisions. They gave us their terms verbally, nothing was written out so we are still waiting for a final written confirmation of these terms. If we tentatively agree to take this to a vote, we would have a week to ratify the vote with membership before layoffs would occur.
THE COMPANY'S PROPOSAL:
1) 11 laid-off employees within the bargaining unit if we agree to the terms (that number does not including managers, exempt employees as far as we understand it)
2) 21 laid off employees if we do not agree to the terms.
3) Pay cuts by what you earn (these would be instituted building wide for all employees)
- up to $25,000 = 0% cut
- $25,000-$34,999 = 2% cut
- $35,000-$49,999 = 3% cut
- $50,000-$64,999 = 5% cut
- $65,000-$99,999 = 7.5% cut
- $100,000+ = 10% cut
(Part-timers pay cuts would be based on what their hourly rate would equal in they were full-time)
4) A work furlough of a week unpaid (to start the second half of the year), with the option of continuing furloughs each year indefinitely.
5) Cut vacation accrual up to only 1 week above your annual allotment (if you earn 3 weeks, can accumulate 4 weeks, if earn 4 weeks, can accrue 5 weeks - currently we can accrue up to 1.5 times your rate).
They said they would be open to people who volunteered to resign/be laid off. They would be covered by the same severance language in the contract, two weeks of pay per year of service up to 40 weeks. Laid off employees Cobra coverage would be the new federal rate with is up to 9 months at 35 percent.
A couple numbers to mull over. By my count we have 56 guild-covered employees in the newsroom (including on-callers and part-timers). We have 14 managers.