Latest from the Indianapolis Star Inking: Gannett again issuing threats

Dateline: Fri 27 Feb 2009

Here is the text from the Inkling, the newsletter of the Indianapolis Newspapers Guild:

"Subject: ** E-INKLING ** Contract negotiations update

"Feb. 25, 2009

"The Indianapolis News Guild's bargaining committee this afternoon concluded our latest set of meetings with representatives of Gannett regarding our attempts to come to an agreement on a new contract.

"We have been making progress on issues such as overtime and expense

reimbursement (related to travel compensation for use of a personal

vehicle versus a company car), but we aren't moving fast enough for the company's liking. Given the state of the economy, and the company's initial rejection of almost all of our proposals, the Guild today proposed that we would agree to a wage freeze for one year if the company would agree to extend the current contract for one year, a gamble that perhaps the financial climate would improve by 2010.

"Gannett legal counsel Bill Behan declined our offer and, on the

record, said the reason is that the Guild did not agree to other proposals that Gannett considers a priority. He also said it's very possible that Gannett corporate may require him to prepare a new proposal that includes a wage cut, although no time frame was given.

"The Guild's package offer would have eliminated several of Gannett's more onerous proposals, including doing away with seniority provisions related to layoffs and a "same as" clause that essentially gives the company the right to implement any measures it deems necessary to reduce business expenses, leaving the Guild no right to grievance or

arbitration over such measures.

"We meet again March 11 and 12 at the bargaining table.

-- officers, stewards and members of the Guild contract team"

To quote a former Star reporter, "The Guild should simply bargain this to the death."

The other option: continue to tell the world of this company's ridiculous and crippling strategies. Gannett may think it is fooling some subscribers and readers, but it is not. At an eye doctor appointment yesterday, my opthamologist/surgeon noted of the paper -- which I had with me -- "They have pretty much lost all credibility in this community." He meant Gannett, of course, which seems to have a formula down pat for how to ruin journalism and break spirits.

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