Michael Amon

Limited absentee voting to be allowed in next contract vote

Posted in Uncategorized by michaelamon on February 16, 2010

There was a general meeting of the union this morning. Here’s the news.

Newsday Local 406 members who are out-of-town on assignment or on vacation may be able to vote by absentee ballot in the next contract ratification vote.

Union members approved a motion allowing members who can verify they will be out-of-town on assignment or on vacation to pick up an absentee ballot at the union offices in Farmingdale. You can vote there and hand the ballot in, or mail it.

The measure now must be posted for membership to see and will be ratified at the next general meeting.

The idea came up after the last contract vote, which came on the same day as the Jets played in the conference championship game. Several sports writers and a photographer were in Indianapolis on assignment and couldn’t vote. At the same time, a reporter and photographer were in Haiti and couldn’t vote either.

It won’t solve every scheduling problem. We decided to not mail out absentee ballots because it’s too costly and the turn-around time is too small – five days or so between a tentative contract agreement and a ratification vote. So sportswriters caught covering the Mets or Knicks on a long road trip might still be disenfranchised. But it’s a step in the right direction.

That five days number is also new. We voted to increase the minimum amount of time between tentative agreement and ratification votes from 48 hours to five days. It could take longer, depending on circumstances.

Contract talks are still scheduled to begin again on Feb. 23, with George Tedeschi leading the way, said Local 406 President Mike O’Connor.

By the way, general meetings are open to all membership. They’re every third Tuesday of the month at 8 a.m. at the VFW hall in Wheatley Heights.

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