Company negotiators could not explain why Aggrego delays getting breaking news posted on Pioneer Press Web sites at the last negotiating session held October 24.
A Federal mediator attended the session. He had not been present at previous sessions due to the government shut down.
Company negotiators heard from some Pioneer Press Guild members, who detailed how Aggrego has become an additional layer of people to get stories posted online. Pioneer Press editors lack the ability to post stories online. Guild members know which Aggrego employee is assigned to their coverage areas and yet are forbidden to communicate with the Aggrego employees, Guild members told company negotiators. That means breaking news stories are often delayed in getting posted online. News stories sometimes don’t get posted until several days after they were written.
Another issue the Guild is concerned about is that sponsored content, or advertisements that look like stories, will get posted on Pioneer Press Web sites in higher priority slots than news stories.
When asked if Guild members had voiced these concerns to Sun-Times Media Local Editor-In-Chief Rob Elder, Guild members responded that they were unable to do so. A mandatory Pioneer Press staff meeting was held in recent weeks. Elder was present at the meeting, outlined some expectations and then left the meeting, deferring all questions to the Pioneer Press editors, who could not discuss Aggrego-related concerns with the Guild members, the Guild explained to company negotiators.
Company negotiators said they would talk to Elder.
Aggrego was the only topic discussed at the last bargaining session. Jurisdiction, wages and benefits are on the agenda for the next session, scheduled for Nov. 6 and 7. At the federal mediator’s request, these will be off the record sessions.