News seeking more concessions

More info at membership meeting 5:30 pm Wednesday

Buffalo News management informed Guild leaders on Friday that it wants to negotiate further concessions from the Guild to cut expenses in the face of a continuing decline in profitability.

The issue will be discussed at the Buffalo Newspaper Guild’s quarterly membership meeting at 5:30 pm Wednesday at the nearby CWA District 1 Office at 821 Elk St. The membership meetings have been restructured to highlight matters of importance to all members.

All members are strongly encouraged to attend.

Dan Farberman, vice president of human relations, informed the Guild of the company’s desire to meet and discuss cost-cutting measures at the conclusion of Friday’s Labor Management Committee meeting. Management has not yet said what concessions it would seek.

The Guild is under no obligation to make economic concessions. Its contract with The News is good through Aug. 1, 2011.

Last March, the Guild agreed to a package that saved the News $2.9 million though a combination of wage cuts, buyouts and other separation incentives. Management gave no assurances that it would not seek further concessions before the contract with the Guild expires. The push for further concessions comes despite profits that were more than double what the company projected when it negotiated with the Guild last year.

The union’s Executive Committee, anticipating management’s request, met last Thursday and discussed having the Guild negotiating team from last year’s concession talks meet with management to hear its proposal. However, the decision on how to proceed will be made based on input from the membership at Wednesday’s meeting.

The meeting is expected to run a little over an hour. Food and beverages will be provided.

1. Routine orders of business – Pat Gormley, President

Committee reports, Editorial Executive Committee nominations, Finance Committee chair nominations, vote on grievances and arbitrations, Classified Advertising incentive agreement vote, local participation in The Newspaper Guild national meetings.

2. The News’ request for Guild concessions and management’s meeting with national Guild representatives in Washington D.C. on Jan. 29 – Marian Needham, TNG staff representative; and Jim Heaney

3. Review of The News’ financials and projections, and progress by the Labor-Management Committee – Jim Heaney

4. Q&A and feedback from members

5. Update on health insurance coverage – Henry Davis

821 Elk St. Buffalo NY