Tuesday, July 27, 2004

What's up?

I've been out the loop since my wife Monnie was hospitalized in November 2003, through her 3 months of illness at our daughter' s home in Aurora and the several months that I've been involved in handling her estate (it's completed, without a lawyer!).
So I haven't been to Papa Joe's since last fall. What's happening, folks?
I did see Joe Catalano at Joe's Crab Shack on Howe Road in Cuyahoga Falls, with his wife and son. He has health issues, but is hanging in there. Same ol' Joe. Had a brief, but enjoyable, conversation with him.

BJ contract provisions

Just one day ahead of a scheduled meeting of the strike paper sub-committee, the Guild and management at the Akron Beacon Journal reached tentative agreement on a four-year contract covering approximately 130 employees at the Knight Ridder-owned daily. The settlement followed nine hours of bargaining July 8 and a loud, spirited rally the evening of July 7, as more than 100 people gathered on High Street to support unit members.
Unit chair Stephanie Warsmith led the sign-carrying group in some high-decibel chanting. "This is our bottom line," Warsmith said at one point, lifting a large board filled with family photographs. Guild members wearing blue shirts that read "People Before Profits" also held up individual family photos to emphasize what they are fighting for .
"What you're fighting for is not just for a fair contract, but ... to keep the tradition of good journalism here in Akron," TNG-CWA President Linda Foley told the
receptive crowd. "Other people in this company, that's not their agenda. But I know that's your agenda."
And indeed, the Guild unit succeeded in defending its contract against demands that would have eroded job security, weakened jurisdiction, imposed a discretionary pay system and eliminated premium pay for some bargaining unit positions.
The agreement followed an intensive campaign by Guild-represented workers that included, among other things, a week-long byline strike, informational picketing, community outreach, a strike vote, membership authorization to conduct advertising and circulation boycotts, creation of a popular web site and an array of creative in-plant tactics.
Key terms of the agreement include the following:
● Wage increases of 2.5% in the first year and 2% each year thereafter, with larger percentage increases in the first year for lower paid employees. Management
withdrew a proposal for a discretionary pay system.
● Managemenr withdrew a proposal to permit independent contractors to perform

bargaining unit work without limitation; current contract language, with minor changes, will continue to govern the use of freelance correspondents. Negotiators reached agreement on a provision to permit expanded use of up to 10 student correspondents, who are members of the bargaining unit.
● Effective Oct. 1, management will be able to offer its BlueGreen health insurance program, a self-insured health plan that already covers most non-union Knight Ridder employees. The employee percentage of premium cost-sharing cannot be increased for the life of the contract.
In addition, agreement also was reached on the establishment of a Taft-Hartley trust into which insurance premiums will be paid. The trust will have the ability to contract with another health insurance provider that will offer an additional plan to Guild-represented employees. The Beacon Journal must pay into the trust whatever it would otherwise contribute to the Blue-Green plan for any employee who elects to take insurance made available through the trust.
● Management secured the right to transfer new employees to other job titles, with the limitation that such transfers have to be for valid journalistic reasons and can't be unreasonable or punitive. Language was added to clarify that current employees can be transferred to a job they haven't done before for only three months out of a one- year rolling period. New employees can still be transfered at will.
● A compromise was reached on defining positions of "increased responsibility" that warrant an $89 weekly pay premium. At least nine positions will continue to qualify for the premium, as well as anyone who fills in for an excluded manager, but several other positions will no longer be eligible.
[From the Guild Reporter, July 16, 2004, page 3]

Note from Tod Burkes in Paris

An e-mail July 22, 2004 to John Olesky from Tod Burkes in Paris:

It was nice to hear from you. I'm still in Paris. Left the Beacon to go do a short mission truip and never came back. Three kids now. 12, 10 and 9.

My wife teaches English in public schools here and I work with young people on alternate ways to live out and express faith. Here's my blog sifte if you're interested.

Take it easy. Todd

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Grandson for Webb Shaws

Ty James Sheets was born on January 7, 2004 in Ames, Iowa. He weighed 7 lbs. 14 ounces and was 21 3/4 inches long. He has continued the Shaw family tradition of non-fussy eaters and so, at a little over 2 months, he weighs about 14 pounds. He's making his first visit to the Frozen Tundra this week. His totally unbiased grandparents declare his exceptionally cute and very advanced for his age.
Ty's mom, Erica, will graduate for Iowa State vet school in May and intends to enter dairy practice--probably in Wisconsin, which suits us fine! Dad, Steve, is an agronomist with Land O' Lakes. Ty's aunt Lidnsay is in law school at Hamline University in St. Paul, MN. Grandpa and Grandma Shaw still work at the same place, but find them a lot less interesting these days--especially compared to "gooing" at Ty and all that goes with it.
Best wishwes Web Shaw
[This item was e-mailed earlier this year to Tom Moore for his web site which hopefully is still in the process of a makeover.]