November 7, 2006 E-MAIL PRINT

Contract Bargaining: The DJ Offer


Apparently Dow Jones and IAPE have two entirely different ideas of how to recognize and reward the very employees that Dow Jones CEO Rich Zannino has described as "the most important asset of this company."

The bargaining teams met Tuesday November 7th to exchange contract proposals. The Dow Jones Contract Proposals we receieved aren't pretty.


Among the highlights:

2% annual raises for 2007, 2008 and 2009.

A freeze in the scales.

A freeze in the rates for shift differential and stand-by pay.

Elimination of Premium Pay for overtime exempt employees.

A more than doubling of your annual healthcare premiums— paying 20% of the cost in '08, 23% in '09 and 25% in '10 — worse than the 15% share recently imposed on management.

Creation of a bare-bones, high-deductible health-savings account, with a threat eventually to eliminate either the PPO plan, under which we are allowed to choose our own doctors, or the Managed Choice plan.

Cutbacks in retiree health coverage for current employees, and elimination of retiree health coverage for new hires.

Decrease in company contributions to "money purchase" retirement plan to 5% from 7%, and a longer wait before you qualify for the full amount.

Cutbacks in disability pay

Cutbacks in seniority protection in case of layoffs

Elimination of inflation protection for raises.

We've made it clear from the very beginning we're looking for a Quality Contract for Quality People— more money, better benefits, stronger job protections and improved working conditions.

Rich Zannino has repeatedly promised that he would not seek heavy cutbacks in our incomes and benefits. When he was named chief executive, he was quoted in The Wall Street Journal promising that he wouldn't try to boost profits through cost cuts. Dow Jones "can't expense its way to profitability," Rich said.

A few weeks ago, Rich responded to a letter from more than 1,000 IAPE members, who called for improvements, not cutbacks. He said this: "I am pleased to see that our thinking is mainly aligned."

The company's proposals seem out of line with Rich's promises, which suggests that they likely are prepared to compromise.

But make no mistake: These bargaining talks will be tough. How well we do will depend on how determined we are. It will depend on our ability to stand up for ourselves, outside the bargaining meetings, and show Rich and other Dow Jones executives that we are serious about expecting improved wages, benefits and working conditions— not more declines. Dow Jones can not afford more declines.

Quality People deserve a Quality Contract.

Steve Yount

Jim Browning
Bargaining Committee Chair


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