Guild settles; results mixed

Dateline: Tue 21 Feb 2012

Sources and the online Inkling (Guild newsletter) report that the Indianapolis Newspaper Guild, after a valiant take-it-to-the-streets battle, has reached tentative agreement with Gannett management.

Here is what the Inkling has to say:

"The Indianapolis Newspaper Guild has won pay raises for most of its workers but was unable to stop The Indianapolis Star’s plans for outsourcing, which could ship up to eight jobs out the state.

"The Guild’s contract negotiating team reached a tentative agreement Thursday with representatives of The Indianapolis Star in a deal which must still be ratified in a vote by the Guild’s membership.

"The agreement was the definition of a compromise.

"In an industry still cutting jobs and cutting pay, the deal would award the Guild’s workers raises of 2 to 4 percent, with the highest raises going to some of the Guild’s lowest paid workers. But it was only a small step toward restoring the 10 percent pay cuts the Guild took two years ago."

Kiss those raises goodbye for all time, people. They are never more.

Basically, the deal shows what those of us on the outside knew: management has the muscle. Workers in building services and some of the lower-paid reporters (salaries of $30 k a year) will get very small and deserved raises, but the designers and probably eventually copy editors will get the shaft, with jobs moved to Louisville or Tim-buk-tu.

And did the Guild settle too quickly? Some think so, but support is still strong behind Guild prez Bobby King, who traded in his religion reporting hat (some time ago) for street-fighting man. The Guild waged a tough campaign, trying to garner public support or at least sympathy. From the Guild's point of view, I think, it was  a feel-good strategy -- read the Inkling -- but ultimately a big fat flop.

Still, they tried, and that counts.

As a friend noted, public sentiment is just not out there for unions in these days of joblessness and big-fat-union payouts. The Guild at the Star is hardly a heavyweight; it deserves better. But at the end of the day, money talks....and some folks are still gettng furloughed.

Oh, and three people have been offered buyouts in what some say is a pretty good deal.  They are Joe Konz, Mike Ellis and Steve Ballard.  Guys, take the money and run.

Luck to all.





hendy [Member] said:

... ultimately a big fat flop.

Can't say much beyond that. It reminds me of John Mellencamp's "The Authority Song".

2012-02-23 07:16:35

Whitebeard [unverified] said:

"Union thugs."

Ruth, you're an outstanding journalist/commentator and I have written many times that your blog is one of my favorites.

Having said that, I see a disconnect between your comments about the "union thugs" in trade unions and your support of your former newspaper's union.

I find this disconnect frequently associated with former or current Star newsroom people. They'll badmouth other unions - trade unions, teacher unions, state government workers' unions, etc. etc., while asking us to help them wave the flag in support of the Guild's fight against the Bad Guys.

At the same time Tulley's union was negotiating to try to keep seniority at The Star, he was writing commentary in the same newspaper to get rid of it in state teachers' unions. Even if you're a teacher-basher - who seem to be in no short supply in right-wing dominated Indiana these days - you have to see a double-standard at work there. 'Oh, those veteran old Star workers reporters/editors/columnists, they're fat and lazy and get paid twice as much as the young kids out of college, so let's get rid of 'em. We can call it 'Reduction-in-Force.' "

The Star's newspaper guild wouldn't know working-class solidarity if it came up and bit them on the backside.

2012-02-23 14:13:02

hendy [Member] said:

Makes me wonder if it wasn't her tongue in her cheek. Seems like she's conflicted sometimes. Part of the problem is that she succumbed to the reality distortion field surrounding Mitch Daniels. My personal opinions of Daniels are well known; but then, B2's opinion of me (see upthread) are probably as vehemently negative. So it goes. Can't lose them all.

2012-02-23 16:47:56

Tom Greenacres [unverified] said:

Copy editors editing copy about Indianapolis, from Louisville? Better than from Bangalore, I guess. Let's see if actual cost savings outweigh the absurd mistakes that are sure to come, which we already have, plentifully, with the Star's revolving door policy that shoves young out-of-towners onto the city beat.

2012-02-23 20:04:27

Whitebeard [unverified] said:

"but then, B2's opinion of me (see upthread) are probably as vehemently negative."

Well, Hendy, you remember the old newsroom slogan I first heard 35 years ago: "If you aren't making some people mad, then you aren't doing your job."

2012-02-23 22:52:39

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