Members of Teamsters Local 126 working at the Albany Times-Union newspaper have ratified, by a majority vote, a new three-year contract. The 63 members all work in the mailing department of the newspaper and fought back against the company’s desire to cut costs and threats of wage reductions.
“They played hardball with us,” said Stefan Krueger, Secretary-Treasurer of Local 126 and an employee in the mailing department unit for the past 27 years. “The company originally wanted a 50 percent reduction in wages and they wanted to outsource our work – but we fought back. Now we have a good agreement for three years, we maintained our top rate of pay and we’ve paved the way for the company to take on more commercial work, too.”
In addition to the Times-Union, the plant is now printing three of the old Journal Register papers: the Troy Record, the Kingston Freeman, the Saratoga Springs’ Saratogian, and Albany’s alternative weekly paper, Metroland.
“This is a good contract for the Albany Times-Union members,” said John Peralta, Teamsters Newspaper, Magazine and Electronic Media Conference representative. “We assisted the local union with their negotiations for nearly a year, and the effort was worth it. None of the current journeymen will suffer wage reductions, in fact they will receive a lump sum bonus. This, combined with other job stability commitments created a contract that a large majority of the members voted for.”
The mailing department, a critical part of the more than 150-year old newspaper, is where advertising fliers are inserted, the paper is bundled and the paper sorted for delivery zones. It employs more than 63 people, many of which have been Teamster members for over 25 years. With a daily circulation of over 66,000 and a Sunday circulation of more than 128,000, the demands on the department are challenging.
“The longevity of many of Local 126’s members at the Albany Times-Union was a driving factor in all of the negotiations,” said Joe Molinero, Director of the Teamsters Newspaper Conference. “They’ve worked hard for this company, and deserved a contract with good conditions. We are pleased that the contract was ratified and that its terms help put current and future employees on a firm foundation.”