Albany Newspaper Guild President Tim O’Brien said today the union fight the job cuts in court.
Kathy Bowen of the Schenectady (N.Y.) Daily Gazette reports:
Guild members overwhelmingly rejected the company’s contract proposal Monday, and Publisher George Hearst said the consequence of the action is an impasse.
“We made our best and final offer. We have to move forward now and try to make smart decisions in how to lean-up the cost of the business,” Hearst said.
The jobs to be cut would be union and nonunion positions, including editorial and advertising staffers, he said. The company has rejected the idea of cutting salaries or imposing unpaid furloughs and will instead cut positions.
“We are going to ask the people who are left to step up and do more work. It wouldn’t be fair to cut their salaries too,” he said.
O’Brien said the union is concerned for long-term employees who are at the top of the company pay scale and close to retirement.
“If someone is close to but not yet 55, they could lose half of their pension if they are laid off now,” he said.
Under the proposed three-year contract that was rejected by guild members by a vote of 125 to 35, the company would have been allowed to outsource any job and lay off workers without respect to seniority.
O’Brien said the disregard for seniority was unacceptable, and still is.
“We believe that legally we will have a strong case if they go forward,” he said.