In the next few months, The Guild Bargaining Committee will begin negotiating with Post management for a new contract. We would like to hear from you as we develop contract proposals that address your needs. Please take a few minutes to complete this survey. The more information we have, the better our contract proposals can be. While we are not asking for your name, it will be helpful to know your department and the number of years you have worked at the Post. Our goal is to get as many completed surveys as possible by APRIL 30.Print This Post
Washington City Paper
Buyouts and benefits cuts aside, times were good for Washington Post Company execs and Graham family members employed by the company in 2012, according to a new Securities and Exchange Commission filing.
Take publisher and Graham family member Katharine Weymouth, for example. Weymouth’s 2010 compensation of $2.07 million inspired grousing from Post reporters, and her 2011 compensation dipped to $1.92 million. According to the new filing, though, Weymouth was up again in 2012, earning $2,436,413 in salary and bonuses.
Weymouth’s haul came from her $625,000 salary, a bonus of $611,413, and a $1,200,000 payment for a 2009-2012 incentive plan. The filing also reveals that Weymouth received a 3.5 percent raise this year, with her new salary set at $646,875.
Meanwhile, Weymouth’s uncle, Post Co. CEO and Chairman Donald Graham, made $877,724 in total compensation in 2012, according to the filing. Graham’s salary has been frozen since 1991, when he requested that he stop receiving raises or bonuses.
To read more click here.Print This Post
Now that it’s open season for professional evaluations, here are some things you can do to make sure your annual review doesn’t inadvertently become a target on your back.
We don’t have to remind you that in the past few years, the Post has been looking for places to cut. Fair enough — it’s been a punishing time for the media business. But the Post’s downsizing has not always been fair, and neither has its appraisal of people’s talents and skills. Yet these evaluations have often become the basis for the Post to show people the door, sometimes through threats of dismissal or inducements to accept buyouts.
In the past year, members of the Guild – and a former member, who is now a manager himself – spoke to some experts in labor law about what you can do to protect yourself.
We spoke with Robert E. Paul, a partner at Zwerdling, Paul, Kahn & Wolly, PC, who represents the Washington-Baltimore Newspaper Guild; Linda M. Correia, of Webster, Fredrickson, Correia & Puth, PLLC; and Daniel A. Katz, of Gary M. Gilbert & Associates P.C.
All agreed on some basic principles:
In professional evaluations, advocate for yourself as strongly as you can. Round up your best stories. Point out the articles that were overlooked for A1 for reasons beyond your control. Talk up your sales prowess. Do not let unfair criticism go unanswered. If you disagree with the performance rating your supervisors have given you, tell them so and explain why in detail. You should not just sign off on an evaluation that you disagree with. And when it comes to signing the evaluation, keep in mind that your signature should mean only that you acknowledge its receipt. If you disagree with an evaluation and your supervisor refuses to modify it, you should feel free to write, “Received, signed under protest.”
Keep accurate records of your time on the job and anything pertaining to your job performance. Catalog your successes, as reflected in emails, letters or even conversations with your boss. This might include saving emails from supervisors that praise your work or that show you went above and beyond. It might be as simple as keeping the email that asked you to cover a colleague’s Council Meeting at the last minute or work past your shift on an advertiser’s account. Note when your stories get a lot of traffic. Save emails from readers or clients whom you’ve helped. Keep drafts of stories or memos that demonstrate you have filed work that does not need exhaustive revision. If you feel that your supervisor
has not taken the initiative in recognizing what you’ve been doing for the company, one attorney recommends that you send an email to him or her that might gracefully elicit such recognition. And don’t give them a chance to nail you on stupid stuff. Show up on time.
When in doubt, get in touch with a Guild representative. We’re here for you. That’s true of people who pay their dues – and, regrettably, our friends who don’t. And although we’re working hard to sign those slackers up, we are committed to advocating just as hard for them to make sure they receive due process too.
—- Freddy Kunkle, Guild Co-Chair
Here’s a further Q&A with Bob Paul:
Q: How should employees protect themselves in their evaluation, especially if they feel they’re being targeted by management?
A: The self-evaluation process is the employee’s chance to strut their stuff. Anyone should, at all times, be using that as a stage to tell management how good you are. Be accurate but don’t be shy. Remind the Post of all the good [work] you’ve done. This is your opportunity to convey those thoughts. Hopefully, you will set the framework for an argument that might have to happen down the line if they try to push you out or take some adverse action.
Q: What other strategies would you suggest?
A: It’s important to catalog your successes. Conversations, letters, emails that came in — all of this should be catalogued. Make your own file. You shouldn’t rely on what the system keeps track of. Periodically, you should look at your personal file and update it, if necessary. . . Check your stories for page view numbers. It is now going to be a measure of your performance.
Q: In the context of a buyout offer, how should staffers think about whether they should take it or not?
A: A buyout opportunity . . . is a chance for everyone to take stock of where you are and your career at the Post. Are you headed in the right direction? Were their bumps along the road that you didn’t expect? Do you see problems ahead or smooth sailing? What are your career goals and financial situation? You’ve got to put that all together. There isn’t some formula that applies to everyone.
Q: What signs should an employee look out for if he suspects he’s being targeted?
A: [Management] will frequently come to the employee and say: “Mary, I want you to know you’re dong a good job. The buyout is completely voluntary but we want you to know what our plans are for you as you make this decision. And our plans for you are that we’re transferring you to [a less desirable assignment]. . .” There comes a point when you look at that statement and whether it’s just good faith, factual information so you can make an intelligent decision - - or whether the Post is twisting someone’s arm and letting you know that the future is not all that bright…and “voluntary” is not so voluntary… All publishers do this and it can be hard to evaluate.
Q: But it can be more coercive than the previous example, right? Is that proper?
A: It’s always complicated to evaluate whether that’s proper or not. On the one hand if you want to make a proper decision about your future you should have all the facts, (including) the Post’s evaluation of your performance. You ought not to ignore it so that so you don’t pass up on an opportunity. On the other hand, if they are urging you out, a voluntary buyout isn’t voluntary at all. If you are coerced or under duress when you sign these papers, and you file a case of age
discrimination down the road, The Post wouldn’t be able to use the waiver that’s in the papers to shield it from liability. But it’s difficult to make the coercion strong enough to make an age discrimination suit [in this example] stick.
Q: When should you seek help from the Guild or consult with an attorney?
If you leave the conversation and you think: “Whoa, that was not just a plain conversation with my editor,” you should get some advice. People should consult [the union] or another colleague, just to put it in perspective. Most times, [an ominous] conversation will not have come out of the blue. Most times there would have been seeds planted before. But if you come away from one of these conversations and you think there’s some agenda, and you’re troubled by the statements, you should run it by someone.Print This Post
The PostGuild wishes to thank our dues-paying members for their continued support and wishes to welcome our many new members.
As you know, the Guild has embarked on a robust membership recruitment effort. PostGuild gives a special shoutout to our super recruiters Del Wilber and Pat Jacob.
To celebrate, the Guild is designating Wednesday, November 14, as Feel the Guild Day. Please join us for a drink on the Guild.
When: Wednesday, Nov. 14
Time: 5-7 p.m.
Where: Mio, 1110 Vermont Ave. NWPrint This Post
Imagine for a moment that the Washington Post no longer had a union. What would happen? You wouldn’t have to pay dues anymore. You wouldn’t have to avert your eyes when members ask you to join. You could just keep looking out for No. 1, safe in the belief that a paternalistic company would watch out for your best interests. One of the world’s finest newspapers would still land on people’s doorsteps or show up on computer screens every day.
But if there were no union, something else would happen. Like nonunion employees everywhere, you would see your pay erode.
So would your benefits. You would have no due process in a disciplinary proceeding and no job security. You would come to work wondering whether it might be your last because you spoke your mind in front of your boss, you weren’t able to sell twice as many ads as last year, or your editor decided that you don’t write so well after all. You might find your job outsourced for a contractor and little more than a thank you when you depart. The days when employees negotiated buyouts would be long gone.
If you think this can’t happen, think again. After so many rounds of buyouts, our membership has dropped.
We’re not saying the Post isn’t a great company with decent owners. But it’s still a big business, and its interests do not always coincide with ours. That’s why we need a union. And with our membership now below 40 percent, we need you more than ever.
That’s also why we are launching a company-wide membership drive called “Feel the Guild.” Over the next month or so, we will be spreading the word through emails, bulletins, Facebook, Twitter and face-to-face meetings about the importance of joining. Every new member will receive a $50 gift card, and every member who recruits someone else will receive a $25 incentive. Those who recruit five new members will receive an additional $100.
But it’s not all about the money. Here are some reasons you should join:
 Hard-won job protections ensure that the company cannot just dump you on the street. Without the Guild, the Post would become an “at will” workplace where a manager could end your career without due process.
 At a time when other news media have shed jobs, imposed furloughs or cut pay, the Guild bargained for a $13 a week raise for everybody in the unit. Each person also received a $1,200 lump sum.
 The Guild has fought to maintain or expand health and other benefits, such as family leave. We have pushed back against the Post’s attempt to charge people for every BlackBerry that broke and challenged attempts to restrict book leaves.
 As the Post becomes more aggressive in using highly subjective employee evaluations as a pretext to force people out, the Guild has fought to protect people from arbitrary and unfair dismissal. Over the past year alone, the Guild took two cases to arbitration, one in the newsroom and the other in advertising.
The Guild has always been a passionate voice for its members. We count many editors and supervisors as friends, and we want the Post to succeed. But we also advocate for what’s best for our membership and the newspaper, reminding top management of the ideals we all hold dear. Join us. Contact any of the following Post Guild officers and stewards:
Freddy Kunkle, Matt Schudel
Stephen “Rocky” Richardson, Paul Kane
Nikita Stewart, Ellen Nakashima
Pat Jacob, Miranda Spivack
Matt DeLong, Katherine Shaver
Amy Quinto, Sarah Mark
Tim Smith, Justin Moyer
Del Wilber, Mark Giaimo
Eddy Palanzo, Tim Craig
Mike De Bonis, or Guild Rep Rick Ehrmann at 202-785-3650 x 14
Spring is in the air, and so is baseball.
With Washington enjoying the rarity of having two home teams atop their divisions, the Washington-Baltimore Guild is treating members to an extra special offer.
This year tickets are being sold for the game between the Baltimore Orioles and the Washington Nationals, Friday, June 22 at 7:05pm.
The Guild has tickets available for $6 per ticket. Tickets for the “AFL-CIO Night – Oriole Park at Camden Yards 20th Anniversary season” game are limited and will be reserved on a first come—first serve basis by email only.
If you’re interested, please contact Nancy Banks, the Guild’s office manager, at Nbanks@wbng.org.Print This Post