Latest from the Deathstar: Guild resists the pull

Dateline: Mon 26 Apr 2010

A reader sent this email update from the Inkling, the horn of the Indy News Guild No. 70. As forecast, that USA baseball screcard is nothing but trouble...but then everything at Gannett is.

Following this graph is the Guild's response to the draconian company. Will their get-tough stance make a difference? Maybe only in morale, for a brief time...the troubles with Gannett are too deep and entrenched. Still, you gotta give the Guild some credit for fighting:

"New grievance filed: We officially notified the Star on April 19 that the Indianapolis Newspaper Guild, TNG-CWA 34070, is filing a grievance over the outsourcing of work performed by our members in the news room in violation of the contract.

"On Monday, April 5, The Star began using a page of baseball content that is produced by USA Today. This is work
that previously has been done by page designers, copy editors and paraprofessionals represented by The Guild. This is a violation of the contract as stated on Page 1, 'Jurisdiction of the Guild, Local No. 34070, shall include all work presently performed by the unit covered by this contract. Performance of this work … shall be assigned to
employees of the Employer covered by this contract, provided that employees exempt from the bargaining unit pursuant toArticle I below may perform bargaining unit work.

"The Guild MUST step in and defend our jobs -- otherwise 'free' and preproduced copy makes its way into the paper, not unlike the 'News From You'  stuff that runs in our zones sections. We hope everyone will
read a Gannett blog piece on the arrangement between Gannett's six N.J. newspapers and an employee of the New Jersey Devils who is providing coverage of the team for the newspapers. That may be a coup
for the pro hockey team, says The New York Times, but it 'puts the papers in the odd position of publishing news coverage supplied by the entity being covered.'

"Kronos is coming: The Guild told the company today that it bregrudgingly accepts the implementation of the Kronos 'fingerprint representation" scanner, which will be put into use in the coming months (likely June) to keep track of employees' work hours. This will replace the time cards employees currently fill out and submit every
two weeks. The company says this system cuts the amount of people and time required to keep track of employees' work time and issue paychecks. The company's human resources department and Star editor
Dennis Ryerson have said it will take about 45 days for employees to get used to the system and then it functions without problems. After several meetings with the company, the Guild asked that all reporters, and all newsroom employees, who don't have a set schedule in the Downtown office, be exempted from being required to use the Kronos system. (Those who don't get OT are already exempted.) That request was rejected....

"The Guild has asked editor Dennis Ryerson to have managers hold department meetings to address individual concerns and we've asked HR to ensure that e-records that contain personal details be deleted promptly to protect privacy. Those are matters under advisement. And, for better or for worse, all of us in the unit are going to be paid for all the time we put in the job.

Callback language, differential: Although the company has challenged a grievance filed by the Guild and related to the July 2009 layoffs, there is a provision in the contract related to layoffs that requires the company to give those who were laid off first preference for two years for any new jobs. The contract is not specific on the issue of a
guaranteed rehire, and the Guild and the company have agreed on language for a call-back procedure. The Guild and the company also agreed to language that will set up a flat $20 per shift differential to be paid to those Guild-represented employees who fill in regularly in managers' timeslots starting May 1..."


As always, tune into for the latest.


Tell The Truth [Member] said:


Here's a rub, though, Ruthie: if they want to keep such accurate timecards, woudl they survive a Wage/Hour Division audit?

Reporters may be "salaried," but what happens when they work 55 hours one week, including time on-premise and at news sites (school board meetings, fires, court, etc.)?

At the end of the day, this could be a blessing in disguise for the Guild, especially if they bargain their next contract (if there IS one) correctly.

At the end of the day, IF they're making you keep track of your hours, except for the police-state-mentality, they are potentially liabel for overtime/comp time.

Otherwise, the practice is just nosey and mean.

Thus endeth my Epistle. Amen.

2010-04-26 12:59:58

Robert Knilands [unverified] said:

User was banned for obnoxious trolling and the comment was removed. --Admin

2010-04-26 21:38:49

Rose [unverified] said:

Please, nobody feed the troll.

2010-04-26 22:57:36

Robert Knilands [unverified] said:

User was banned for obnoxious trolling and the comment was removed. --Admin

2010-04-27 00:07:30

Tell The Truth [Member] said:

Robert, I too was ignorant of federal/state wage and hour requirements, until the company where I worked was put through an audit in 2002. I'm not a Gannettoid, although, I'm poised to ask what exactly that creature is...even though I know it sticks a sharp stick in your eye.

Management is allowed to stipulate anyone is "salaried." That is, not a clock-puncher. Basically, under existing law, anyone who punches a clock is hourly. There are some subtle allowances here, but the kind of clock-punching described in this post does not fit the law.

The general rule is, if they punch a clock for all comings-goings, they're hourly, and need to be paid for overtime, etc.

Now, there are various attempts to skirt that, but my company was a large international concern. They were found to be in substantial non-compliance because they made "salaried" degreed professionals turn in time sheets. And they made us put "8-12 and 1'5" M-F. Regardless how much we worked.

If a company resorts to electronic exact-tiem monitoring, I'm guessing they cannot escape the Wage/Hour Division definitions of hourly and salaried employees. For what other purpose does management seek to know a reporter's every move, if not to make sure there are enough work hours?

If you've paid Worker X a set amount of money for two successive pay periods, regardless how much that worker works, (s)he is considered, for Wage & Hour Division audit, to be "salaried." Absent the HR folks re-classifying his/her job, two paychecks form a pattern. The reporting standards cannnot shift with the winds. That's the direct word from a federal DOl Wage/Hour Division auditor...his lips to my ears.

So, dear Robert, if the Gannett folks wish to have folks clock in and out precisely, by legal definition at audit time, they are hourly. HR can try to create paperwork to the contrary, but it's a tough sell. Penalties are pretty stiff.

You may now remove your head from your arse. Sorry, Rose...had to feed the troll with some street skillz. I knew nothing of this practice, either, until caught in the middle of it.

2010-04-27 10:43:56

Robert Knilands [unverified] said:

User was banned for obnoxious trolling and the comment was removed. --Admin

2010-04-27 11:58:48

Robert Knilands [unverified] said:

User was banned for obnoxious trolling and the comment was removed. --Admin

2010-04-27 12:14:50

hendy [Member] said:

See TTT? You fed the troll. Look what happened. He's gone on a fact-trumping mission. He's snorting in a corner some place, snickering and snorting with glee, and TTT-- you caused it.

I'm glad I'm not an ex-Gannettoid. There's a pity party going on here sometimes. Nonetheless, I'm friends with ex-Star and News people, no matter its corporate structure. One of these days, we need to get a Friends of Ruth breakfast going somewhere. She gets to buy the coffee; I'll buy the omelets. Some Wednesday, when I'm up in Indy.....

2010-04-27 13:55:04

Robert Knilands [unverified] said:

User was banned for obnoxious trolling and the comment was removed. --Admin

2010-04-27 14:45:09

Rose [unverified] said:

Looks to me like the main thing the troll wants is attention, any sort of attention at all that he can get. In the past, the main way he's figured out he can get attention is by insulting people online, to try to tease some personal information out of them, and then he'll use whatever info he gets to insult people some more. One way to avoid playing into that is do NOT post any personal information about yourself here, such as where you're from, where you've worked before, age, that kind of thing.

2010-04-27 15:15:02

Hoosier Daddy [unverified] said:

Here's the deal with the troll. He is a wannabe journalist. He didn't have what it took to be a real honest-to-goodness newspaper person. Oh, he tried, Lord knows he tried.

But he buckled under deadlines.

He could never come up with the right info at the right time.

His sources thought he was a creep and gladly gave info to his competitors.

Rather than accept his failure, he adopted an attitude of arrogance and superiority and then spent his miserable days cruising blogs and writing his nastygrams when his boss at the customer service call center isn't watching.

He is to be pitied.

All he ever wanted was to be one of us.

2010-04-27 16:13:47

Robert Knilands [unverified] said:

User was banned for obnoxious trolling and the comment was removed. --Admin

2010-04-27 18:17:56

VladTheImpaler [unverified] said:

You nailed it, Hoosier Daddy -- well done. The boy child reminds me of the pale, creepy guy in one of the old Dirty Harry movies. Real prevert-like, as they say in Mars Hill.

2010-04-27 20:01:56

Robert Knilands [unverified] said:

User was banned for obnoxious trolling and the comment was removed. --Admin

2010-04-27 22:28:18

Tom Greenacres [unverified] said:

Wow, TTT et al, you are going to prod Bob into cardiac arrest. I've never seen anyone who metaphorically froths at the mouth with the first keystroke. (And I might add, this craziness and the ad hominems obscure any point he is trying to make.)

2010-04-28 07:41:50

Tell The Truth [Member] said:

It's OK, Tom and Hendy, I can take it. I'm not a bitter ex-Gannett employee...there are some here, but I find their opinions valuable in the spectrum of total opinion. There are some smart folks here too, Robert. I detect some brains even under your thick outer shell. how sad, however, to go through life that pissed-off.

His post cite is worthwhile...I went there, too. It's not an official governemnt website--it's two attorneys in Albany, NY. They may be experts, but that's hard to determine.

My cite was an actual federal government auditor-----his-lips-to-my-ears. Albeit a few years ago, I doubt that rules have changed that much on this issue. But I will go a-lookin.

The breakfast idea is a good one. Food Emporium, Ruthie--killer cinny toast and carrot cake.

On second thought--Ruthie, honey, you know how to reach us. Set it up and don't post here. E-mail us. I'd hate to find "Knilands" outside with a grudge and a temper to match.

Seriously, Robert...dial in some Zoloft. Someone peed in your cornflakes BIG time. Then again, it sucks to not always be right, doesn't it? We mere mortals deal with it.

2010-04-28 07:52:29

Hoosier Daddy [unverified] said:

Hey Bobbie:

Yeah, you were a reporter. Listen, I would have loved to be your competition on a beat so I could have had the pleasure of making your life miserable every single day and forcing you to come up with excuses to give your editor about why Hoosier Daddy had the story and you did not! I would write better, report better, and ultimately serve readers better, which is what it ultimately about.

I think you are knowledgeable about media and journalism, but I think you know very little about the culture of real newsrooms and newspapering. You remind me of the college journalism professor who seemingly knows so darned much about the profession but can only count as practical experience their summer as an intern and that year they spent writing obits and rewriting press releases before going on to grad school.

You are welcome to post here and share your ideas, but please stop insulting my friends and please stop equating the use of anonymity as cowardice. I know a couple of the people here and they were fearless journalists. If you are truly interested in understanding the craft -- particularly as it was practiced before the Internet -- these guys would be a valuable resource.

I used to love visiting this blog because it often has news about The Indianapolis Star, where I devoted and invested more than 20 years of my life.

It bothers me to see the recent discourse here drop to the level of a radio show insult-a-thon.

You can retort if you wish. However, with this posting, you'll hear no more from me, but I bet you'll remember Hoosier Daddy, son.

2010-04-28 08:54:01

Jason [unverified] said:

That's one thing I've never understood: why the federal government has this thick volume of labor guidelines for hourly employees, but at the same time grants no respite for most of those on salary.

Almost everybody I know that works in the corporate world puts in a hell of a lot more than a 9-5, but since they're salaried they don't get to turn in overtime slips. I would imagine if a good journalist logged their hours by the end of the month it would look like a train wreck.

2010-04-28 11:49:17

Robert Knilands [unverified] said:

User was banned for obnoxious trolling and the comment was removed. --Admin

2010-04-28 12:08:07

Tell The Truth [Member] said:

At a small daily and weekly, I wrote obits for a long time. It's not easy work.

These days, the relatives write them, and they're printed at a huge cost verbatim, complete with misplaced apostrophes and improper grammar. I don't knwo how many times I've seen in obits, that folks worked at "Lilly's" or "Allison's." Nice feminine names, and I'm sure the ladies have nice lives, but the deceased didn't work for those ladies.

But I digress.

Weddings and obtis were difficult for me because the expectations are so great. They're monumental life events. Regardless how well you write them, there is often a family member who finds fault, and often, they pick up the phone.

I learned about chiffon and the VFW graveside rites. And floral tributes and rose garlands. And I learned how to listen to readers' complaints or suggestions for future wedding/obit stories.

Give me a nice feature or a city council meeting any day. Cut and dried. I learned a lot.

But more than that, Knilands, I learned some common courtesy and manners.

You should live so long.

2010-04-28 12:47:02

Robert Knilands [unverified] said:

User was banned for obnoxious trolling and the comment was removed. --Admin

2010-04-28 14:25:23

Rose [unverified] said:

On common courtesy, the thing of it is that when you're talking to people you don't know, those people are strangers. And normally, a person is a little bit more polite to strangers than you might be to someone you knew well. Going around hurling random personal insults at people you've never met, who you don't even know, who you know NOTHING about, makes it pretty difficult to pay attention to anything at all about anything else you might have to say.

The troll has repeated the phrase "tiny skill set" six times just within this particular thread. Not very creative. Also seems to like words like "moronic", "stupid" and "witless". Doesn't seem to be very interested in much to do with the original post, just interested in tossing insults at the internet.

I think that's sad - conjures up an image of a miserable human being, living out of a shabby apartment or motel room, no wife, children, pets, plants, or anything that would make the place a home, and no sign of any hobbies, athletic activities, or church or civic engagement. So, his only way of getting attention is by getting online and trying to insult whoever he can find. We all die, but I think a wasted life is especially sad.

2010-04-28 15:00:46

Robert Knilands [unverified] said:

User was banned for obnoxious trolling and the comment was removed. --Admin

2010-04-28 17:15:18

VladTheImpaler [unverified] said:

"Robert" has been bitter since he was shown out of the newsroom in the late 1990s.

2010-04-28 17:48:21

Robert Knilands [unverified] said:

User was banned for obnoxious trolling and the comment was removed. --Admin

2010-04-28 18:26:24

Tom Greenacres [unverified] said:

I am nonplussed if not confused.
Bob says he wasn't a reporter, or was for just a short time, but then goes virulent about what a waste of oxygen newspaper people are, they can't write or spell and the ones that are particularly bad are designers. I don't understand the source of his anger. Is it merely disappointment in the current state of newspapering, or Gannett in particular, or folks who have spent years working for a newspaper??? His diatribe against designers, before it got hysterical, was semi-understandable: designers, visual taskers, graphics wonks, have been tasked with assignments they are not equipped to handle. Just as writers do not a designer make, designers should not be expected to be writers. The pagination and makeup software that infected newspapers led managers to believe they could save money by turning employees into multitaskers, no matter how ill prepared they were.

(I am letting my age influence my reasoning. I remember the music of linotypes, the ring of teletype machines, the smell of melting lead, the taste of paste, and what copy paper marked up with a lead pencil looked like.)

2010-04-28 18:45:03

VladTheImpaler [unverified] said:

Folks, let's consider who Robert is. He's an underachiever with delusions of grandeur, having worked in such major markets as Kokomo, Ind. and Greensburg Pa., at Richard Scaife's Tribune-Review. Vlad is very familiar with the latter paper, having grown up 30 miles away from the community paper and contributing to it while in college. Vlad reads it when he goes back home on visits to Appalachia. Let me tell you, it aint no NY Times -- or even an Indianapolis Star, that place of bitter Gannettoids with "limited skill sets."

There's nothing wrong with working at these small market papers, per se, nor do do they preclude one from practicing fine journalism. But to bludgeon this blog's readers (it's a blog, Bobby, not Columbia Journalism Review) with boorish diatrabes under a smug facade of wisdom is truly pathetic. An accomplished, distinquished practician of journalism you are/were not. Nor would somone of wisdom and accomplilshment behave as you, Knilands. You are empty and a fraud. As I suggested earlier, please get some psychological help.

2010-04-28 19:03:34

Robert Knilands [unverified] said:

User was banned for obnoxious trolling and the comment was removed. --Admin

2010-04-28 19:20:05

Robert Knilands [unverified] said:

User was banned for obnoxious trolling and the comment was removed. --Admin

2010-04-28 19:22:47

VladTheImpaler [unverified] said:

Struck a nerve did we, Bobby?

An underachiever indeed.

The only thing that puzzles Vlad is how your big mouth didn't get you thrown down a mine shaft while in Pa. Your kind has a short life expectancy there.


Ruth, this blog is so entertaining you should charge a monthly access fee. I'd pay.

2010-04-28 19:32:44

Robert Knilands [unverified] said:

User was banned for obnoxious trolling and the comment was removed. --Admin

2010-04-28 19:39:14

DavidA [unverified] said:

"Apologies in advance if I already suggested this to you, but have you given much thought to suicide? If we're lucky, it'd be slow and painful, and it would rid the world of you. I doubt you'd be missed."

Wow...and this is how all the arguments on here have gotten to, suggesting someone commit suicide??
Ruth, how come you aren't stepping in here and making these "boys" stop?

2010-04-28 19:51:52

Robert Knilands [unverified] said:

User was banned for obnoxious trolling and the comment was removed. --Admin

2010-04-28 20:01:52

Tom Greenacres [unverified] said:

Bob replied, "The real issue is that actual journalists who could read, write, and think were forced to play the design game."

I thought I made that point. I must be confused from eating too much paste.

At least we agree on this point.

But I think youur suggestion that somone should kill himself is out of bounds.

2010-04-29 06:19:14

Robert Knilands [unverified] said:

User was banned for obnoxious trolling and the comment was removed. --Admin

2010-04-29 15:05:53

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