Amid contract talks with the Independent Association of Publishers' Employees, Corporate has told Dow Jones & Co. managers to be vigilant for pro-union signs posted in unauthorized spaces.
"In past years," says a nearly 300-word memo sent Thursday, "we’ve seen IAPE encourage its members to 'show their support' by posting flyers and other union-related materials around the office. Please take note of the rules for this behavior and please make every effort to uniformly enforce our corporate policy." (Full text, below.)
Citing company policy, the directive tells managers that IAPE notices can only be placed on official bulletin boards, "and not affixed to walls, windows, doors, or other common spaces not generally used as bulletin boards."
A reader gave me a copy of the memo. "The company officials we talked to during a negotiating session said IAPE signs that were recently distributed were affixed to places they shouldn't be," the reader said. "As far as I remember, they didn't really say exactly. This was really the first week the signs were available."
Contract talks began Jan. 7 for a new agreement that would cover 1,700 Dow Jones workers in most of the company's locations, I'm told. Those employees include editorial, including at The Wall Street Journal, plus sales, information technology, technical support and printing operations.
In a Thursday note to members on its websites, the IAPE said: "Thursday, Jan. 28th, was another day at the bargaining table for IAPE and Dow Jones. No breakthroughs, but we didn't expect any today (it's still very early in the process.) We had discussions on shift differentials, telephone monitoring and premium pay — and we expect to follow up on each item at next Thursday's talks."
Memo's full text
From: Corporate Affairs
Sent: Thursday, January 28, 2010 12:01 PM
To: Corporate Affairs
Subject: A note to managers from Corporate Affairs regarding union signage
In past years, we’ve seen IAPE encourage its members to “show their support” by posting flyers and other union-related materials around the office. Please take note of the rules for this behavior and please make every effort to uniformly enforce our corporate policy.
Our policy has always been to maintain a professional and neat working environment. IAPE notices, announcements, and signs should be confined to IAPE bulletin boards where provided, and not affixed to walls, windows, doors, or other common spaces not generally used as bulletin boards. IAPE signage should not be placed on tables in conference rooms, cafeterias, rest rooms, or other “common areas,” nor displayed on filing cabinets, office equipment, or countertops. If you see improperly posted material – whether related to the union, negotiations, or otherwise – please remove and discard it.
Employees are generally free, within established local guidelines, to decorate their work space with personal photographs, knick-knacks, calendars, and similar items. Employees are generally permitted to display union-related signs in personal work space – again subject to established office rules. (For example, a reception desk may have restrictions different from a back-office cube, and exterior cube walls are generally treated differently from interior-facing walls.) We want our office space to be inviting to business guests, and therefore we don’t generally put work-related signs, notices, or other distracting material on walls, cabinets, or other places in public areas where they would be seen by visitors. The same applies to union-related signage. (Note that IAPE representatives should not place signage on chairs, work desks, computer monitors, or elsewhere in the office without the permission of the individual who occupies that particular space.) The union has been notified of this policy, which has been the same for many years.
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[Image: today's WSJ, Newseum]