Contract vote

Dateline: Sun 28 Jun 2009

The Indianapolis Star Guild will vote on the very one-sided contract proposal Tuesday. The Guild is hoping for 100 percent turnout to say "NO" to a plan that would impose a 12 percent pay cut; force the Guild to abandon its arbitration for 12 workers laid off in December; eliminate pay hikes and merit pay for the next two years; and give the publisher leeway in assigning advertorial work.

In two words: It sucks.

So why is management pushing so hard for vote? As one reader/former reporter noted a month ago, "...there's something fishy here.

"They know the contract is going to be voted down unaimously. Is the company then going to declare an impasse and impose the contract on the Guild? I wouldn't be surprised. Then they'll continue to fight the Guild in court."

If I worked at the Star, which is something I still have dreams about, I would urge reporters and others covered by the Guild to walk out this week: simply stop the presses. That's the only lesson Gannett might heed. Sure, everyone would probably lose their jobs --- but that's going to happen, anyhow. If nothing else, a walkout/strike would generate national attention and send a message that newspaper employees are not going to bend over and take it from Gannett anymore.

The trick, of course, would be to get every rank-and-file member and those not covered by the contract to leave. It's an exhilirating thought.

Of course, it won't happen. Instead, we'll watch this torturous process continue over time, until Gannett has re-invented the newspaper as we once knew it, and driven out every credible journalist to look for work outside of newspapers.





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