Layers and layers of management

Wrapports and Sun-Times Media employees work side-by-side in the newsroom, the Guild learned at the latest bargaining session.


Sun-Times Managing Editor Craig Newman joined the company’s bargaining team when they met with the Guild’s bargaining committee for negotiations Wednesday, Sept. 11.Guild cartoon (1)

“Mr. Newman was extremely helpful in helping us understand the dynamics of the newsroom,” Guild Executive Director Craig Rosenbaum said after the session.

Newman and other company representatives detailed a layered management structure where there is one exempt or supervisor to two Guild members. In the past before the bankruptcy that ratio has been about one exempt or supervisor for three or four Guild members.

The issue was explored because the Guild believes that some of these supervisors should not be exempt from the Guild. No agreement was reached after Wednesday’s session about which, if any, of the supervisors should join the Guild.

Upon request, Newman described a complex management system in which there are up to five layers of supervisors reporting to superiors. Some reporters also answer to multiple editors, depending on which publication and department the reporter is in, company representatives explained.

Newman also revealed that a “handful” of Wrapports employees work on the 9th floor alongside Guild members in the Sun-Times Newsroom.

The duties of regular freelancers were also disclosed. Given the amount of work some of these freelancers perform, the Guild told the company that it is planning to go to governmental authorities about the company’s alleged misuse of freelancers.

Rilea accepted the idea of all units getting three days bereavement but pointed out different units get different bereavements for different family members. A resolution was not immediately agreed upon.

“I don’t know.  As long as I’m not paying a lot of additional money,” Rilea said after Rosenbaum said the Guild wanted one contract.

The next bargaining session is scheduled for Oct. 3. The company did not have much to say besides pointing out the company’s dismal financial position after a Guild bargaining committee member made an impassioned plea for resolution to more than a year’s worth of negotiations.

“We understand the revenue picture and the profit picture. It’s clear to me that in a few months unless there’s going to be some great change, the company’s going to make a big decision that’s either shut the doors or recapitalize in some way. Do something to fight for the business. If you shut the doors, we’re all out of work and you’ve also lost your demonstration products for Grid, Splash or Aggrego or all the other ventures that are out there,” the bargaining committee member said.

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