Scholastic will give Guild members bonuses
You didn’t think there was question? There was!
The Guild would like to give a pat on the back and a tip of the hat to Scholastic management for doing an about face and including Guild-represented employees in the bonuses that will be awarded this Friday.
An about face?
That’s right, in his original message, Scholastic CEO Dick Robinson announced that bonuses of a week’s pay would be awarded to “all full- and part-time employees in the U.S.” who worked during fiscal 2012 and “do not participate in the Management Incentive Program or a commission plan.”
But eleven days later…
Eleven days after the memo was sent out, however, Local Guild Representative Bob Townsend received an email from Scholastic Vice President Cindy Durning that read: “I wanted to alert you that on July 19th, your members may have received an email from, Dick Robinson, our President and CEO, regarding a special bonus payment. The memo was meant for non-represented employees, but was inadvertently sent to all employees (emphasis added).
“We didn’t want you to be blindsided in case you get questions from your members about it…”
Baffled by the email, Townsend responded: “Am I reading you message correctly? Are you saying that our members won’t be receiving the bonuses? If that is the case, are you going to be notifying them about the ‘mistake?’ ”
To which, Durning responded: “I had not planned on sending a notification, but certainly can if you would want me to. Have you had any inquiries regarding this from members?”
Why would they ask?
Townsend wrote back that he hadn’t received any inquiries from members. They were all expecting to receive a bonus. “I think it would be tremendously unfair for management to turn around and say now that you meant all full-time and part-time employees except Guild-represented employees will receive bonuses,” Townsend wrote. “Guild-represented employees have worked just as hard as all other employees to give Scholastic such a successful year and I truly believe that Scholastic should rethink its position and give them a bonus rather than a slap in the face.”
The email exchange took place on Monday, July 30. Obviously, the bonus subject was raised when Scholastic management and Guild representatives met for negotiations the next day at Guild headquarters. But at that time, Scholastic negotiators reiterated that the memo was sent to Guild-represented employees by mistake and employees covered by the union wouldn’t be receiving the bonuses. Jay Krupin, an attorney with the firm of Epstein Becker & Green, argued that the proper forum to discuss the bonus was at the negotiating table and the Guild would be complaining if Scholastic awarded bonuses to Guild-represented employees without first negotiating them.
Not this time!
In this instance, we told him, we wouldn’t.
By Friday, however, Scholastic had second thoughts. Townsend received a telephone call from Director of Human Resources Robert Defendorf and Vice President and Deputy General Counsel Linda Gadsby. They said basically that they didn’t want to fracture relations with the Guild and didn’t want to set back negotiations – and also didn’t think that it would be fair to take back a bonus after it had been promised – so Scholastic would award the bonuses to Guild-represented employees.
Guild officials had already begun preparing a response. We created a petition that would have gone out today for members to sign and would be given to Robinson asking that the bonus be extended to Guild-represented employees. And the Guild’s attorneys were investigating the feasibility of filing an unfair labor charge with the National Labor Relations Board.
But Scholastic offered to pay the bonus if the Guild would agree it was being done on a non-precedent basis and that we wouldn’t file a charge against Scholastic for awarding the bonus without first negotiating it. We readily agreed.
We congratulate Scholastic management for doing the right thing.
Negotiations have been moving slowly, but moving. When the parties weren’t talking about the bonus at the most recent session, most of it was consumed with jurisdiction issues.