Village Voice staffers’ demands include better pay *and* decent coffee

From the Village Voice union:

Hi other reporters, 
This is a press release. It can be attributed to the Village Voice Bargaining Unit. (We all stood around a keyboard and took turns pecking at the keys.)
Village Voice union members, represented by UAW Local 2110, will hold a one-hour demonstration TODAY, Monday, June 30, from noon to 1 o’clock in front of our offices at 80 Maiden Lane. We’ll be the people in orange t-shirts. 
Why are you doing that? 
GREAT QUESTION. Every three years, our union, UAW Local 2110, and management come together to negotiate a new contract. 
Our demands this time around are very, very simple: better pay, better working conditions, particularly for our overburdened sales staff, and to keep our healthcare coverage. 
We also want better coffee. Our coffee is shit./CONTINUES

Management has countered with a proposal that, among many other things, would:  

— Raise our already low salaries by only $10/week
— Raise our healthcare costs by at least $200 a month. Employees with children could see increases of much, much more. 
– Cut family leave time in half. 
– Make it easier to fire employees without putting them on probation first.
– Slash severance payments in half for the Voice’s most senior employees.

Management is also trying to gut several health and safety provisions from our contract, calling them “obsolete.” And they want to eliminate the small supplemental payment for the position of Affirmative Action & Diversity Coordinator, the staff member tasked with making sure that we’re a diverse and inclusive workplace. Instead, they would generously allow that person to do the work for free. (At first, they tried to scrap the position altogether, but have grudgingly conceded that perhaps that one isn’t quite “obsolete” just yet.)

You sound upset.  
 We’re very upset. These proposals aren’t just bad for current Voice employees, but bad for anyone who might work here in the future. It’s a rotten deal, and we won’t accept it. 
What happens today? 
 We’ll be outside our building at 80 Maiden Lane from noon to 1:00, handing out flyers to educate the public on the details of our negotiations.

We’ve also been working hard to educate the entire staff about these negotiations. Earlier in the week, we put up flyers and pro-union messages in the conference room. Management illegally removed them and complained that we had “defaced” that room, which seems like a strong word. The conference room is now kept locked. 

They were nice flyers, though. You can see some photos here, here and here.

Our contract expires on July 1. We are prepared to do what it takes if management can’t come to the table in good faith and give us the contract we deserve. 

* From 2011: Village Voice strike averted (
* Earlier: Not all newsrooms are pulling the coffee pot plug (
* A byline strike at the Globe and Mail as contract talks continue (@simonhoupt)