Indy Guild again wearing red

Dateline: Wed 22 Jul 2009

Vic Ryckaert of the Indianapolis Newspaper Guild has posted the following comment on his Facebook page about 40 minutes ago (it is now 2:30 p.m.):

"Red Wednesday: Guild will wear red as Gannett president of U.S. Community Publishing Division Bob Dickey speaks in Indy. He recently called Indy the strongest performing paper in the company. Why is he trying to kill that success with an arbitrary pay cut?"

Here is the story that appeared in Editor and Publisher Tuesday:

"Indy Guild Seeks Another 'Red' Protest for Visiting Gannett Executive

By Joe Strupp

Published: July 21, 2009 11:25 AM ET

NEW YORK The Indianapolis News Guild, which is entering federal mediation next month with The Indianapolis Star on a new contract after rejecting a previous offer in June, is asking members to again wear red to show unity in front of a visiting Gannett executive.

In an e-mail to members late Monday, Guild President Tom Spalding urged rank-and-file staffers to wear red, or specific guild attire, for the Wednesday visit by Robert Dickey, president of Gannett's U.S. Community Publishing Division. Spalding made a similar request last week for a meeting with Star Publisher Michael Kane.

"As we prepare for labor negotiations to resume Aug. 6-7, another
opportunity is before you to show a united display of our presence ...and would reinforce to the executives here in Indy and in McLean, Va.
that Indianapolis News Guild 34070 is a force to be dealt with!" the e-mail stated. "PLEASE wear your lanyards, hats, red shirts and other red attire to show your support for the Guild and sit together as a group this Wednesday, July 22!"

The e-mail later adds: "It's even more important that you show your colors than it was last week for Star Publisher Michael Kane's presentation. Dickey is president of Gannett's U.S. Community Publishing Division and the buck next stops with him!"

The call for unity follows a recent company-wide layoff of some 1,400 employees by Gannett. Those resulted in the loss of 14 guild members at the Star, including guild secretary Sylvia Halladay.

Spalding has revealed that the company's latest proposal includes a 12% salary cut and a two-year salary freeze. The first mediation session is set for Aug. 6."

This is a case of "better red than dead," which is what the paper will be if staff does not fight back.

 

Comments

Tom Greenacres [unverified] said:

My motor carrier Star delivery person has failed to show up for the last couple days. I filed complaints on the Star's user unfriendly website ("Contact Us- But Don't Expect An Answer"), without reply. Perhaps ominously, the carrier, who is supposed to also bring the PalItem, also didn't bring the PalItem. This was new carrier's second day on the job. Not off to a promising beginning and I do not expect to see this carrier again.

This also is not a good sign for continued home delivery. The Star cancelled our rural delivery once before, then reactivated it. They go through motor carriers like chili through a chihuahua (sp?). Poor folks begin delivering at 1 am and continue to 6 or 7 am, racking up many miles on their vehicles and coping with fluctuating gas prices.

What a quandry for management: how, they ask themselves, can they rid themselves of readers who require home delivery, without calling attention to diminishing circulation figures? They can only phony up the readership numbers ("if we print them, we count them") so far.

2009-07-23 08:21:22

ruthholl [Member] said:

There is much wisdom and truth in what you say, Tom G.
When I was still working there, I met a carrier one morning when I was out on assignment: Westside, poor part of Indy. She was a younger woman who spoke of how the Star, under Gannett, had taken away whatever perks/extras the contract carriers used to receive, while also reducing the amount being paid.
It is all a numbers game with this company. They will screw whomever they have to to keep the $$ up in their secret enclaves.
One former Gannett sportswriter refers to the newsroom as the "profit centers," which is probably what the big G's call it...anyhow, we know that's all they think of.
Why not sell brothels? These people care nothing for newspapers...have not a clue how to woo and retain readers.

2009-07-23 10:41:24

Seneca [unverified] said:

"Why not sell brothels?"

Indeed.

And regulate and tax 'em.

Could be a big and growing source of . . . income.

2009-07-23 13:56:26

Whitebeard [unverified] said:

(In the interest of full disclosure, I have a family member who is an IPS teacher).

I have real problems feeling great empathy for The Star's newspaper Guild members when some of their members are actively and aggressively promoting the destruction of teacher unions in Indiana.

Especially the columnist, Tully, who seems to think the teachers union in Indianapolis is responsible for every evil in society including the Swine Flu.

Those who want to dismantle teachers unions must want to go back to the days when married women were not allowed to teach and when teachers were paid so poorly they had to have three other jobs (instead of the two that many now have to pay the bills).

At present, The Star's battle is being waged against seniority relating to teacher layoffs, etc. From what I have read on this blog, having no seniority protection at The Star has resulted in the demise of many veteran and skilled Star employees.

2009-07-23 19:09:13

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