Members of the Interpreters Unit of the Minnesota Newspaper & Communications Guild, TNG-CWA 37002, overwhelmingly approved a new two-year Collective Bargaining Agreement in voting over the past three days. The term of the agreement is Jan. 1, 2014, to Dec. 31, 2015.
The contract includes annual wage increases of 1 percent, retroactive to Jan. 1 this year, increases in differentials for working nights, weekends and for multi-lingual interpretation, and a ground-breaking Memorandum of Understanding on Video Remote Interpreting, or VRI.
Your Interpreters Bargaining Committee today addressed nearly two dozen unresolved issues in negotiations with Hennepin County Medical Center management. The Interpreters again continued to argue for language in the new contract to address Video Remote Interpreting (VRI) and offered new contract language about VRI staffing and health and safety guidelines.
Your Pioneer Press Bargaining Committee spent the past two days in the initial bargaining sessions with management for a new contract for the agreement that expired Jan. 31. As a reminder, all provisions of the contract remain intact while bargaining is underway.
Monday’s bargaining began as more than 40 Guild members filed into and quickly overwhelmed the HR conference room as they stood in a continuous line along the walls. The Guild members introduced themselves to the management team – Marshall Anstandig, general counsel, and Lisa Stenger, HR manager – and noted their jobs and tenure at the Pioneer Press. The Guild members who turned out to support the bargaining committee ranged in tenure from one year to 52 years. Quite a remarkable turnout and a very effective show of solidarity. Thanks to all who participated.
Your Interpreters Unit Bargaining Committee today discussed several topics with management during the fifth bargaining session for a new contract.
The Union has proposed increases in several differentials, including for work done in the evening and overnight and also on weekends. Spanish Interpreter Ismahr Mondal told the management bargaining team about his personal experience working at night and during weekends, most times as the only Interpreter. The extra burdens from the short-staffing and the stress associated with the heavy workload are reasons why those Interpreters who work evenings, nights and weekends should receive increases in the current differentials outlined in the contract, Ismahr said.
Your Interpreters Unit Bargaining Committee today had lengthy discussions with management about the Interpreters Services Department’s vacation system and about the recent changes announced in the implementation of Video Remote Interpreting, or VRI. Those two subjects are part of the Interpreters Unit’s latest proposal.
Longtime Guild Interpreters Khamtu Munsisoumang and Yia Vang were honored Jan. 16 by their HCMC co-workers.
The Interpreters Unit this week lost two veteran Interpreters as Khamtu Munsisoumang and Yia Vang said goodbye to their colleagues.
Khamtu, in fact, was the most senior among the Interpreters at Hennepin County Medical Center and was the first Interpreter the hospital hired in April 1980. Khamtu, 67, is a native of Laos and was a nurse in his home country before moving to Minnesota and being hired as a Laotian Interpreter. Khamtu was easily recognizable in his three decades at the hospital with his luminous smile and friendly greeting to all he encountered. Khamtu and his wife live in Eden Prairie and have two sons, two daughters and eight grandchildren.
Yia, 54, also a native of Laos, started at HCMC as a Hmong Interpreter in June 1990. Her husband, Khamphiou, is also an Interpreter at HCMC. The Vangs live in Woodbury and have two sons, two daughters and four grandchildren, some of whom were in attendance on Jan. 16 during a tea gathering for Yia and Khamtu.
Dozens of their HCMC co-workers took turns wishing Yia and Khamtu well and posing for pictures with the new retirees.
Graydon Royce, Local 37002′s president since 2009, tonight guided the members and the Executive Committee through his final Membership Meeting as Local president.
President Graydon Royce receives a plaque from his successor, Janet Moore, at the Dec. 9 Membership Meeting.
Royce, the Star Tribune’s longtime theater critic, was the co-chair of the Star Tribune unit in February 2009 when he took over the reins as head of the Minnesota Newspaper and Communications Guild. He successfully guided the Local through rocky financial times and challenges in its large units, as the Star Tribune and the St. Paul Pioneer Press both went through bankruptcy.
Incoming Local President Janet Moore, a fellow Stribber, presented Royce with a plaque during the Membership Meeting in honor of his dedication and service to the Local. CWA District 7 Organizing Coordinator Jeff Lacher, who attended the meeting to lead a discussion on organizing, offered his approval during the presentation. Afterward, those in attendance enjoyed Royce’s favorite desert, apple pie.
Members of the Minnesota Newspaper and Communications Guild on Dec. 9 will discuss how organizing will shape our future at the Local’s Quarterly Membership Meeting. If we are to grow and maintain our strength, we will have to build our membership.
Plan to attend the Quarterly Membership Meeting and participate in the discussion on organizing, led by CWA District 7 Organizing Coordinator Jeff Lacher.
The Membership Meeting is at 6:30 p.m., Monday, Dec. 9, in the lower level conference room at the MN Guild office building, 2855 Anthony Lane S., St. Anthony, MN 55418.
As most of us learned today, the St. Paul Pioneer Press plans to shut down and sell its production plant at 1 Ridder Circle and contract with the Minneapolis Star Tribune to print the newspaper. It is indeed a sad day for our brothers and sisters who are members of Teamsters locals GCC/IBT 29C, GCC/IBT 1M and IBT 120, and who comprise almost all of the pool of employees slated for layoff as a result of the shutdown.
The plant closing in early 2014 will affect 170 Pioneer Press employees, mostly members of the three Teamsters locals who work as pressmen, platemakers and mailers. The plant closing will also result in the layoff of two of the five Guild-represented employees at the facility – a warehouse worker and a receiving clerk. The remaining three Guild maintenance workers will transfer to 345 Cedar in downtown St. Paul. Teamsters delivery drivers and Guild circulation employees will not be affected by the closing of the production plant.
The layoffs will represent the loss of hundreds of years of service from union members to the Pioneer Press.
An ongoing dispute between the Interpreters Unit of the Minnesota Newspaper and Communications Guild and Hennepin County Medical Center was resolved today when the hospital signed an agreement that addresses key issues of video remote interpreting (VRI). The Guild and HCMC agreed to terms Thursday on the eve of today’s first bargaining session in negotiations for a new contract for the Collective Bargaining Agreement that expires Dec. 31.
Interpreters were incensed last month when HCMC management abruptly informed the Union it was refusing to bargain to a written agreement over the effects of the implementation of VRI. The management decision led to a mass mobilization effort by Interpreters, who pinned on unique red buttons with a QR code that linked to the Interpreters page on the Guild website. Interpreters also continued to wear red on Wednesdays in support of in-person interpreting and rallied twice outside the hospital to call attention to management’s refusal to bargain. The Union stepped up the pressure last week when it asked a Hennepin County judge for an emergency order to stop the implementation of VRI and to require HCMC to bargain over the issue. As part of the agreement, the Union will dismiss the unfair labor practice court complaint. A hearing in the case was scheduled for Monday morning.
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