To put it mildly, Thomson Reuters management and Guild reporters are at odds over the current contract. Tempers are flaring, but ultimately a whole lot of nothing is happening fast.
In early November, Guild members distributed leaflets at a described “peaceful candlelight vigil” at the Manhattan home of Thomson Reuters CEO Tom Glocer. The main dispute: An overall compensation cut that includes a doubling of health care contributions that are deducted from paychecks. On Nov. 4, management returned to the bargaining table for a full day of talks, which seemed promising, but they resolved nothing. Management would like a deal signed by Dec. 15. Guild members say chances of that are slim if not impossible.
“This is a really tough situation and a really long running negotiation,” Guild Unit Chair and Washington Environment correspondent Debby Zabarenko told FishbowlDC in a phone interview today. “We’ve been negotiating for over two years. I can’t say when or how, but I think eventually I think we’re going to get a deal everyone can live with. What’s on the table now is not something we can live with.”
U.S. and Canada Thomson Reuters Managing Editor Jack Reerink did not return calls seeking comment.
Zabarenko explained her title “Unit Chair” is the top post in the Guild, which has some 400 members nationwide. She explained the title was intended to sound “less sexist.” How will the problems resolve? “If I knew specifically what that would take that would be great,” she said. “We’re working on as many fronts as we can. We are challenging the company at the National Labor Relations Board and in Federal Court.”
The Guild ripped management in a recent letter, saying, “Glocer should be embarrassed to make $46 million in the last two years and opine about corporate responsibility and the income gap, while cutting members’ compensation.”
In addition, Justice Department correspondent Jeremy Pelofsky spelled out strong feelings in a letter addressed to “Reerink and Editors” that he titled “Honor.” Read excerpts of it after the jump…