Foster Kamer at the Village Voice blog has memos from Dow Jones about a new, four-year contract deal with Dow Jones’ union, the International Association of Publishers Employees 1096.
The union and Dow Jones negotiated a wage freeze until July 2011. Then a minimum increase of 2% will be applied each year for the next three years.
According to a note sent to staffers by Dow Jones CEO Les Hinton:
Regarding benefits, IAPE staff beginning July 1 will join the same programs now provided for all other U.S. staff. This includes the new health and wellness plans implemented this year with their enhanced programs and the opportunity for premium savings. It also includes the new retirement savings and retiree medical programs. The enhanced 401(k) program will take effect for IAPE staff on July 1 concurrent with the closing of the Money Purchase Plan program.
The union sent a note to their members, writing that: “[W]e’re convinced this is the best deal we can get with Dow Jones right now. Given the generally dismal condition of the news business — and the discouraging pattern of recent contract agreements across the industry — we’re convinced this is a deal that must be ratified.”
Even though the company steadfastly refused lump-sum payments, signing bonuses, deferred raises and any other direct increase in weekly wages, we did negotiate a July 1st switch to the new (and better) health care plan, which will mean lower premiums immediately for more than 90% of IAPE members while maintaining current coverage. Those lower premiums are real money that you’ll see in your check every payday.
Back in January, while Dow Jones and the union were at the bargaining table, union president Steve Yount sent the following to his members, noting that Dow Jones never wanted to go back to negotiations with the union about health care and benefits packages once this deal was made.
A staffer forwarded the email to us:
In years past, we’ve hammered out the details of medical plans,
severance packages, seniority, outsourcing penalties, etc. at the
bargaining table — producing a written contract: a set of written and
enforceable guarantees for you.
In essence, the Company is telling us it is willing to talk about the
details of those packages in this round of bargaining, but once we
reach an agreement, Dow Jones wants a “blanket waiver” so that it’ll
never have to discuss those issues with IAPE again, with the lone
guarantee that benefits will match those provided to Dow Jones non-
union staff, managers, and executives. It never again wants to bargain
about Medical Plans (including retiree medical), Retirement Savings
Plans, Disability Benefit Plans, Vacations/Personal Days & Holidays,
Relocation Policy and Severance Pay (& other post-termination benefits
including retraining, outplacement, and extended medical coverage) —
and will be free to make any changes it wants to make in those benefit
packages unilaterally — at any time, for any reason. The company also
wants to end cost of living protections and wage increases now spelled
out in the contract and roll out “merit pay,” leaving any wage
increase you receive entirely to a manager’s discretion
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