Federal charges filed over Aggrego

Chicago Newspaper Guild filed an unfair labor practice charge against Sun-Times Media for using non-Guild members from Aggrego to do Guild work.

“We’re saying we have enough evidence to show that Aggrego is controlled by the same management group as Sun-Times Media,” Chicago Newspaper Guild Executive Director Craig Rosenbaum said.

Aggrego is a venture owned by Sun-Times Media parent company Wrapports.  About a month ago, Chicago Newspaper Guild learned that Aggrego employees identifying themselves as with Wrapports or Pioneer Press started contacting Guild sources at several Pioneer Press publications.

Aggrego/Wrapports employees are doing the work of Guild reporters and editorial assistants, a Guild investigation has uncovered. Aggrego’s contribution to Pioneer Press includes uploading Web site content, collecting police blotters, writing stories, compiling community events and writing Q and A pieces, the Guild’s investigation has discovered.

Sun-Times Media managers denied that Aggrego employees were involved with Pioneer Press content. In response, Chicago Newspaper Guild filed a charge with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

The Guild is asking that a federal court grant an injunction that would force Aggrego employees to stop doing Guild work.

First, NLRB has to evaluate evidence to decide if the Guild’s assertions regarding Aggrego have merit. If the NLRB finds in favor of the Guild, the matter will be brought to federal court, where the injunction could be granted.

“They’re using Aggrego as a way of deliberately displacing our work. Our concern is that they will continue to displace our workers,” Rosenbaum said.

Sun-Times Media did not return a phone call seeking comment.

Charges against the company are still pending related to the firing of the photographers May 30. Chicago Newspaper Guild is seeking injunctive relief that would return their jobs as well as pay monetary damages.

The Guild maintains that firing the photographers and involving Aggrego employees were issues that should have been brought to the bargaining table. The company did not bargain on either subject. The company is required to bargain with the Guild about any potential layoffs, Rosenbaum said. That is why the Guild filed charges with the NLRB.

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