From: David Rascon
To all operations employees
Subject: NO FATE
First I want to thank all of you that have shown your support in our efforts to organize the remaining two plants.
I’ve been looking at a lot of paper work from past union campaigns and one thing is very clear.
Senior Vice President Mark H. Kurtich will say or do anything to keep you an AT WILL EMPLOYEE.
Mark writes, “All of you have spoken loudly more than once in the past several years about your unwillingness to have a third party represent your interest in the company.”
Correct me if I am wrong, but you need a second party to have a third party.
Oh that’s, right the blue ribbon committee.
You remember the blue ribbon committee made up of two or three pressmen and the rest management.
They negotiated your manning from 5 pressmen to 7 pressmen.
That’s far less than a majority vote.
It’s not the committees’ fault because they are given a path to follow; a road map if you will.
The committee is steered toward its only conclusion, which is what management wanted in the first place. The same is true in focus groups and task teams. You really don’t have a voice. And what’s up with that safety inquisition? The only way to get out of this is to imply that it was your fault that you got hurt or get a lawyer.
He also writes in the same letter, “Why must we continue to periodically waste each other’s time with distractions from a small group of disgruntled employees with their own agendas?” Mark is right. We do have an agenda; to get a contract that locks in wages, benefits, working conditions, and keeps his hands out of our pockets every December.
He also likes to say things like, you can end up with far less than you already have in negotiations. If this is true, why does he fight it? Wouldn’t it be better for the company if we got less? It is not because he cares about us and our families or that he wants to protect us from the big bad unions. No, it’s because from the publisher down to middle management they have managed to keep the union out and cut costs to the bone. Needless to say, this management team has made a big splash with Tribune. They need to be able to cut what ever, when ever, and where ever, all for profit and to have complete control over you. By Now it’s business as usual for Mark and his team. I’m not saying that he doesn’t have feeling about things that are happening to us here at the Times. It’s just business; the business of profits. Their interests are not in your best interest. Wages, benefits, working conditions these three things are what unions are in the business of protecting. GET IT IN WRITING!
In your first contract you will trade up, not down.
When our drivers were let go and hired by Ryder their wages and heath care were cut way down. They began to organize. They also were told by Ryder management that they could get less on a fist contract. They didn’t. They now have better health care than the Times have ever had and their wages went up. Why would anybody vote on a contract gives you less than you already have?
If you don’t believe me, walk over to docks and just ask any driver they will tell you the truth. “TEAMSTERS BABY”
Mark has also said in other letters that the GCIU had very little power to negotiate good contracts in California. What he has left out is that the GCIU has merged with the TEAMSTERS. With 1.4 million Members it is the biggest union in the country.
Do you still believe that we could not negotiate a good contract with Tribune in Southern California?
Should we win an election, the GCIU has asked that we form our own local between the two plants. Who better than ourselves could work with management on issues that only Times pressroom employees understand. From the two plants we would vote on officers, the amount of dues paid per month, and other things that involve running a local. So you can see there is no third party. It’s just us and them. The GCIU/IBT is the legal part of the process. From this point forward everything is done by a majority vote.
Mark likes to write scary stuff like failed contracts, strikes, and lock outs. He makes comparisons to other companies like Coach and Equipment Sales Corp. and Ludwig Motor Corp. None of this has anything to do with us. If you’ve seen a NEWSDAY contract it has a no strike, no lock out clause.
Can you really trust Mark or his team? What about the two new guys, we haven’t seen their true colors yet. Time will tell. I know this they are not here to look out for your best interest.
Our new VP Russ Newton, on more than one occasion, has said in so many words you guys are over paid. Why would he say this and then try to gain your trust and respect in his crew meetings. Trust and respect are things earned over time. He has also said that if it were up to him you would not choose crews. He would build crews based on talent. Gee, how fair is this? Trust him? I think not.
When the valley plant was closed it was big blow to all of us. To say that I wasn’t pissed off about the way things were handled, I would be lying. Nine months later, I am over it. If any of you still have bad feelings because you lost seniority please try and move on. There is nothing we can do change that. The valley pressroom had nothing to do with any of this. Management gave them two weeks to make a life changing decision.
Channel your anger and frustration where it belongs, with upper management.
With the majority of the Oly. Plant well in to their 40’s, does it look like this company plans on keeping our pressroom staffed with press personal that are paid our wages? Take a look around you don’t see new apprentices to take our positions as we retire. They are systematically taking us out. Management says that they don’t plan ahead about things that affect us such as; the lay offs of our drivers and mechanics, the closing of the North Ridge plant. We now know this is lie, they know well in advance. This management team is very capable of calculated deceit. Is Tribune calling the shots? I don’t know, but I do know you just can’t trust management anymore. Hard to believe that when I first met Kurtich I had complete trust in him, he has that affect on people. My trust in him was gone within a year or so.
Management thinks well ahead and you should be doing the same. Unions are in the business of protecting workers rights. Corporations are in the business of making profit from the work their employees perform, and any other way it can; cutting benefits, wages, and staffing.
We don’t work for a family run news paper anymore. This is the Tribune Corporation.
I think Tribune could care less if we went union. After all, practically everything they own is union. By the time Kurtich gets a copy of this letter I am sure someone from Tribune will write something against the union at Marks request. They’ve been taking away things for years, there’s no bargaining going on here.
Kurtich has said that union supporters have promised to get a contract like New York Times, or even a Newsday contract. Never have we made that promise. Some of you asked to see some contracts so we provided them again. These contracts have nothing to do with us at the Times they’re just examples of what bargaining can do.
I am urging all of you don’t let this chance to get a contract slip away again. Talk to someone a family member, your neighbor, your co workers and try to make it to meetings. But for god sake don’t leave it up to FATE. That will get you nothing. This is your future were talking about, take control of it. Were not asking for the moon, just a fair contract so that we may survive in their world.
I’m sorry for going on, I wanted to keep this short but when start to think about the past and future, stuff just comes out. Please get hold of a pledge card as soon as possible and sign it. Time is running on this one. You can get your cards back to me Dave Rascon or some one you know is union supporter.