Bargaining & Settlements – Bytes & bits: Lakeland

Lakeland Gets a First

After an enthusiastic union organizing campaign last year, members of the Lakeland Guild unit of CWA Local 3108 ratified an interim Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) in April — their first formal agreement with their new employer, GateHouse Media. When a full collective bargaining agreement is reached, the terms of the MOA will be included.

Company representatives initiated the move to an interim agreement because they wanted to negotiate over three issues: scheduling, hiring and layoffs. Other Guild locals have used management’s interest in those items as leverage to demand bargaining over any changes to initial terms of employment established by the new owners.

Negotiations resulted in the addition of four annual personal days; minimum wage rates that permit the company to pay higher amounts; job classifications for covered employees, and the requirement that any layoffs be done in reverse order of seniority — although the company has the right to skip up to two employees in each job classification in each round of layoffs.

The agreement also allows members of the bargaining unit to participate in a company-wide bonus plan under the same terms as managerial and other non-represented personnel.

The bargaining team also reached agreement on a grievance procedure and a “just cause” provision — a refreshing new concept for workers who were previously “at will” employees.