June 15, 2001 A Publication of The Newspaper Guild and The Communications Workers of America • Volume 68, Number 6
results in such oddities as Non-
Seattle Times, Akron CD Journal
he cost-cutting mania that large-scale redevelopment of a
has gripped the newspaper nearby property. And if he rattles
industry these past several his sabers loudly enough, perhaps
months continues, albeit with sev- Blrethen can extract tax breaks or
eral unusual twists. other money-saving concessions
The Akron Beacon Journal, for from a city already reeling from
example, has taken the ultimate the dot.com implosion.
step in cutting newsprint consump- But whatever the particulars in
tion—by putting its newspaper on Seattle, there’s no question that the
compact discs. The Journal report- nation’s publishers overall have
edly is producing approximately been gripped by a seige mentality.
250 CDs a night, to be sold on Knight Ridder’s well-publi-
newsstands alongside the print ver- cized 10% payroll cut is well under
sion for the same two-bit price; the way: the St. Paul Pioneer Press, the
company says it costs only 19 cents Miami Herald and The Macon
to produce each CD, compared Telegraph all recently started offer-
with 35 cents for each newspaper. ing buyouts. The CD-enamored
Seattle Times publisher Frank Beacon Journal is looking to cut 55
Blethen, on the other hand, is talk- jobs, including 17 in the news-
ing about following in Boeing’s room. The Tallahasee Democrat is
footsteps—out of the city. In his paring 25 jobs and eliminating a
case, however, the move would be
prompted by the city’s “ultraliberal,
pro-labor stance,” which for
free entertainment tabloid and a
stand-alone Saturday business sec-
tion. The Contra Costa Times said
Vultures circling over
Blethen is a bad thing. Among the
problems prompting this outburst,
according to an article in the com-
it will cut 87 jobs.
But it’s not just financially vul-
nerable companies—which is how
Tony Ridder likes to portray the
the last radio frontier
peting Post-Intelligencer, is the ometimes the only way to appreciate the thick- teeth on edge of even the most “liberal” listeners.
city’s use of the Clean Air Act “to country’s second largest newspa- ness of the shadows is on the fringes. When it And, for decades, that’s how it was in New York,
penalize employees who have cars.” per chain—that suddenly are rear- comes to the growing corporatization of the Berkeley, Washington D.C., Houston and Los
A spokesman for Seattle mayor ranging the corporate furniture. media, that fringe is the five-station Pacifica radio Angeles.
Paul Schell described Blethen’s Reuters is canning 50 top man- network. Over the past couple of years (see the August,
actions as “bizarre.” Other agers as it restructures itself, and Founded after World War II by pacifist Lewis Hill, 1999 Guild Reporter), however, the Pacifica National
sources, however, speculated that while it won’t say whether more Pacifica was conceived as true listener-supported Board has had a decidedly more business-like
Blethen simply was angling to layoffs are coming, the Financial community radio: No community sponsors, like those demeanor. First under the leadership of Mary Frances
move to cheaper digs: the newspa- Times has reported that an addi- infiltrating National Public Radio and PBS. Truly cre- Berry, and more recently that of David Acosta, the
per’s five buildings on 12 acres tional 500 will be pounding the ative programming, even when that meant the occa- board has censored, fired or banned dozens of pro-
could fetch a high price because of pavement by mid-summer. sional truly amateurish production. And an embrace gressive broadcasters and provoked a handful of
Microsoft founder Paul Allen’s Continued on page 3 of free and often indelicate speech that could set the Continued on page 8
For women, ‘new economy’ issues same as old
issues facing working they’ve belonged to a surrounding the unprecedented those confronting women workers
By Gretchen Wilson
WashTech, TNG-CWA Local 37083 women, I felt at home. labor union. But that’s wealth of the “new economy,” in the old economy: child care,
Of course, that feeling the least of it. As we workers in the high-tech industry elder care, flex time, family leave,
come from a long line of was helped by the fact saw when a majority stand to gain a great deal from health care. Nearly 20% of the
working women. My maternal that I am an organizer of Amazon employ- becoming organized. Most work respondents to a WashTech survey
grandmother, Aileen Thomp- with the Washington ees were laid off in for middle-class wages or less. In on work and family issues stated
son, was a Danish-language tele- Alliance of Techno- favor of less expen- fact, nearly 7,500 permanent they had “delayed starting a fami-
phone translator and unionized logy Workers, which sive, outsourced (and workers in the Seattle area, or 15% ly due in part to inadequate family
operator in Seattle during the organizes workers in mostly female) cus- of the IT workforce, did not earn a benefits.” Moreover, women high-
1930s, prompting me to joke the “new economy,” tomer service reps in living wage in 1999. And that’s tech workers still face unequal
sometimes that I’d been “grand- the most disadvan- India, “new econo- not counting the thousands of pay, sexual harassment and gender
mothered” into CWA. taged among them my” employers will technology employees who work discrimination in hiring and pro-
So when I recently attended being women. move just as quickly as temporary and contingent motions.
CWA’s annual Women’s Confe- We face numerous as the old economy workers, many of whom are Yet these are difficult problems
rence in Las Vegas, joining more obstacles in our organizing, starting types to discourage union organiz- women. to confront because of the increas-
than 500 women—and a few with this: For almost all of our ing. The issues for women in the ingly unstable nature of the work-
men—to discuss some of the members, this is the first time Yet despite much of the hype “new economy” are similar to force, with an increasing number
of women workers in contingent
Inside this issue 21 million in the U.S., at last
count. Agency contracting firms
Martell wins back his job . . . . . . . . Page 2 alone employed nearly 8,000 IT
Beware the merit pay trap . . . . . . . . Page 4 contract workers in the Seattle
area in the last quarter of 2000—
Reporter/photog top minimums . . . . . Page 5 workers who typically lack health
Continued on page 3
2 THE GUILD REPORTER www.newsguild.org
After 32 months, Guild In brief . . .
leader gets his job back Near-unanimous
Ottawa; and Carrie Anne May,
senior clerk, Toronto TV
ore than two-and-a-half sure,” while in this case “there was people out of work—on market
The Standard & Poor’s unit of
years after first being no suggestion that the employer conditions, the action came just 10 the New York Newspaper Guild
dismissed from The intended other than that Martell’s days after the Communications, has ratified, 300 to 14, a con- A Guild by any
Fredericton Daily Gleaner, union employment at the Gleaner was Energy and Paperworkers Union tract that calls for 16.4% in other name . . .
leader Tim Martell has been ending permanently.” It observed started an organizing campaign at wage hikes over 51 months, As The Newspaper Guild-CWA
ordered back on the job by the that “anti-union animus formed at the mill.) better job security and other prepares to debate a name
New Brunswick Labour and Surprisingly, however, the improvements. The latter change, TNG Canada has
Employment Board. board dismissed a second union include a broadening of rehire already pondered the issue—
In a decision dated May 23, the charge that Gleaner management and “bumping” language; a then postponed a decision until
failed to bargain in good faith. The decrease to three from four job- next fall. The shelved proposal
board concluded management had
security groups, increasing would retain the abbreviation
been guilty of “anti-union motiva- FTU had accused Gleaner man-
opportunities for employees to “TNG Canada,” but replace the
tion” in laying off Martell and agement of making unlawful bar-
move into other jobs; a $5,000 word “Newspaper” with
ordered him reinstated “to the gaining proposals, avoiding the reimbursement toward adoption “National” when spelled out.
position of employment he occu- setting of bargaining dates, mak- expenses; five days of paternity One possible source of confu-
pied on September 30, 1998, ing unlawful announcements of leave; and a $600 health club sion: the change would make
together with appropriate compen- future “layoffs” during bargaining, subsidy. TNG Canada’s largest local the
sation for all lost wages and bene- and using a bargaining unit mem- Canadian Media Guild-The
fits.” Martell, currently treasurer ber as a conduit to other bargain- Homeless paper’s National Guild Canada.
of the Fredericton Typographical ing unit employees.
The union had alleged that
staff joins Guild
Union, TNG-CWA Local 30664, CWA Local 34071, the Chicago Energizer bunny
was then president of the local and Gleaner management was making
one of several employees whose financial information available to
Newspaper Guild, has obtained can move over
recognition for the staff of Some Guilders just don’t know
jobs were eliminated just as their FTU member and Gleaner reporter "Streetwise," Chicago's newspa- when to quit. Take Marcus
contract expired. Heather McLaughlin, who in turn per of the homeless. Executive Gleisser (left) and William F.
An unfair labor practice charge was campaigning for acceptance Director Jerry Minkkenen signed Miller, both of whom recently
over the layoffs was filed three of the company’s bargaining offer up the overwhelming majority of became the first Local One
weeks later, and hearings began at the time. The union also had the 12 employees and request- members to receive 50-year
Jan. 6. 1999—but then continued accused McLaughlin of intimidat- ed recognition based on card membership pins. And in
Tim Martell ing a witness at the board proceed- check. Management intially Gleisser’s case it couldn’t come
over an unprecedented 26 days,
refused, but after pressure on soon enough: next year he’ll
spread out over 15 months. Final least a part of the motivation for ings.
the board of directors by qualify for his 60-year mile-
arguments were presented last Martell’s layoff/termination” and Although the board called
Chicago Jobs with Justice, man- stone. Still a business reporter
July. noted several management actions McLaughlin’s actions “reprehensi- agement reconsidered its posi-
The long ordeal over, a clearly that convinced the board “that the ble,” it also found insufficient evi- tion and recognized the union.
jubilant Martell declared in a CBC employer had decided to rid itself dence to support claims that
news interview that the decision of the troublesome union President Gleaner management had failed to
“is a victory for labour in New and wanted to thwart any attempt bargain in good faith.
JwJ prepares for
Brunswick, and a strong victory to challenge that decision.” Martell, meanwhile, reports annual meeting
(The Gleaner’s anti-union senti- that he continues “to plug along as As suggested by the above
for TNG Canada. This shows that
item, and more recently in
TNG Canada can stand up to large ments are simply reflective of its a graphic artist for a non-union
demonstrations at the Eugene
economic interests in New Bruns- parent company, JD Irving, which shop in another part of our fair
Register-Guard, one of the
wick—or any province, for that earlier this month was charged with city” and bargained a contract ear- Guild’s strongest supporters
matter—when we are challenged.” union-busting after it shut down its lier this year for a unit of the has been Jobs With Justice, a
In practical terms, however, the Doaktown sawmill, about a 45-min Moncton, New Brunswick local. grassroots coalition of labor,
decision may have mostly symbol- ute drive northeast of Fredericton. “But there are only so many con- community, religious and stu-
ic value. Although the Guild tech- Although the company blamed the tracts to negotiate in this part of dent activists. Now TNG-CWA
nically retains jurisdiction over the closing—which has thrown 134 the country,” he adds. members have an opportunity at the Cleveland Plain dealer,
Gleaner’s composing room, where to return the favor by attending Gleisser joined the Guild in
Martell was employed, the com- JwJ’s annual meeting in 1942 at the now defunct
posing room has been eliminated
and its functions—and some
TNG-CWA Sector Cleveland. The Sept. 6-9 ses-
sion includes such workshop
and plenary topics as the right
Cleveland Press. Miller, pointing
to his laminated dues checkoff
employees—transferred to the
non-unionized advertising depart- Conference Schedule to organize, fighting privatiza-
tion, living wage campaigns
card from 1953, joined the
Guild in 1950 and recenty
retired from the PD; he served
ment. Moreover, Martell adds, “I Thursday, July 5 and—as at all JwJ meetings—a
9 a.m.-noon Executive Council meeting Avenue 4 as a TNG international repre-
would also have to be reinstated to local solidarity action; last year’s
Noon Council of Councils meeting Avenue 5 sentative from 1963 to 1965.
a bargaining unit position, which was in support of CWA workers
2-5:30 p.m. Registration Dome
may be a stretch since the Guild at AT&T. For registration infor-
represents only the editorial
3:30-4:30 p.m. New Delegate Forum Satellites 6&7
mation, call 202/434-1106 or Sound bites:
7-9 p.m. Welcome reception Market B-B-Q An NLRB hearing over 15 fir-
department now.” Restaurant visit www.jwj.org.
ings at the Monterey Herald,
In reaching its decision, the Friday, July 6
originally scheduled for May 8,
labour board noted that a “layoff” 7-8 a.m. Late registration Avenue 3 CMG girds itself has been postponed until Sept.
7:30 a.m. Credentials Committee Avenue 4
is typically “a temporary mea-
9 a.m.-noon General Session Forum
for fall bargaining 11. . . . A full-page ad in the
With the Canadian Media May 21 issue of Editor &
11:30 a.m.-noon Resolutions Committee Satellites 6&7
Finance and Admin. Committee Loring Guild’s two CBC contracts Publisher commends the
The Guild Reporter (ISSN: 00175404) expiring in November and winnners of three of the recent-
(CPC # 1469371) is issued monthly, Structure & Policy Committee Forum
1-3 p.m. Panel seminar on strikes Forum December, bargaining is ly announced Pulitzer Prizes—
generally at four-week intervals, at 501
3-5 p.m. Committee meetings continue expected to start this fall, proba- all TNG-CWA members. . . .
Third St. NW, 2nd Floor, Washington,
D.C. 20001. 5:30 p.m. McClatchy Council meeting Satellite 8 bly in September. Recently Although the Providence
Knight Ridder Council meeting Satellite 9 named to the bargaining team Journal, as reported last month,
Periodicals postage paid in Wash-
ington, D.C., and additional mailing 8-11 p.m. Hospitality by the national Presidents’ is paying back wages, the
offices. Printed in the U.S. Council were Arnold Amber, Providence Guild calculates that
Postmaster: Send address changes Saturday, July 7 executive producer, Toronto TV; at least 50 employees have
to: Grace Comer, Communications 7:30 a.m. Credentials Committee (if needed) Avenue 4 Len Carter, associate director, received less than they’re owed.
Workers of America, 501 Third St. NW, 9-10 a.m. Workshops, Session I Toronto TV; Barbara Saxberg, . . . More than 110 Monterey
Washington, D.C. 20001 A. Discretionary Pay North Forum producer, National Radio; Fiona County Herald employees and
Address changes also can be sent by B. MRF/Defense Funds Center Forum Christensen, reporter/editor, supporters marched May 17,
e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org. C. Complete Contract Campaign South Forum Fredericton Radio; Léo Dufault, then delivered a petition with
D. Organizing Avenues 4&5 producer, Radio-Canada more than 1,000 signatures
Subscription: $20 a year in U.S.
and Canada, $30 a year overseas.
10:45-12:15 p.m. Workshops, Session II Winnipeg; Don Genova, free- asking the Herald to bargain fair
Send subscription orders to: Andy (repeat 9 a.m. selection, locations) lance producer, Vancouver; Lee contracts with the San Jose
Zipser, TNG-CWA, 501 Third Street, 1:30-5 p.m. General Session Forum Siemon, TV sales rep, Toronto; Newspaper Guild and press
NW, Washington, DC 20001 5 p.m. Adjournment
Jeff Mitrow, finance clerk, unions.
Single copies: $1.50
1/2 hour after close Local web workshop Forum
JUNE 15, 2001 THE GUILD REPORTER 3
Blade employees battle
for union recognition
ere weeks after Lavender employees voted meetings of the staff to excoriate unions. With volun-
to make it the country’s first unionized gay tary recognition clearly not on the agenda, a June 15
publication, employees of the Washington hearing on a petition for an election was scheduled
Blade also have turned to TNG-CWA for representa- with the National Labor Relations Board.
tion. And, as at Minneapolis-based Lavender, man- Meanwhile, support for Blade staffers has come
agement’s response indicates that support for alterna- from a variety of sources. Nearly 1,000 participants in
tive lifestyles doesn’t necessarily include support for a Capital Pride Festival on June 10, including several
employee empowerment. prominent members of the District’s gay community,
After two-thirds of the unit’s 18 union-eligible signed petitions endorsing their efforts to get union
employees signed cards authorizing the Washington- representation. And a June 9 letter from four founding
Baltimore Newspaper Guild as their bargaining agent, investors in Window Media, which acquired the
the union presented the newspaper’s new owners with a Washington Blade and its sister New York paper May
letter requesting voluntary recognition of the union. An 25, expressed “disappointment” at Waybourn’s
accompanying statement from the employees described actions.
their decision as “a groundbreaking development in the “Issues or charges of fairness in the workplace,
evolution of the gay press” and added, “Our aim is to particularly in this company, are the antithesis of what
help the Blade grow and prosper and continue in its role our efforts have been about for so many years and
as the gay community’s newspaper of record. precisely why we embarked on this venture in the
“Our decision to unionize should not be viewed as very beginning,” the investors wrote. “We cannot
a vote of ‘no confidence’ in the new owners,” the hope to be successful in promoting and effecting
statement concluded. “We look forward to a long and change in the larger community if our own house is
mutually beneficial relationship.” not in order.”
But that didn’t mollify William Waybourn, presi-
dent of Window Media LLC, which had bought the
The Minnesota Newspaper Guild, meanwhile,
filed its own ULP charges May 8 against Lavender
Why the smiles?
Media, whose employees voted for union representa- Maybe because these folks don’t have to go to work each day:
newspaper less than a week earlier. “Certainly, it
they’re retired. But that doesn’t mean they’re inactive. Thanks to
comes as a disappointment,” he announced in a pre- tion April 2 despite a strong anti-union campaign by
the Albany Guild’s newly formed Retiree Advisory Committee
pared statement, adding that he was committed to lis- management. The union is accusing Lavender owner and other outreach efforts, several dozen Guild retirees have
tening to “the concerns of the many employees at the Stephen Rocheford of discriminating against union resumed their involvement with the local and 31 of them
paper who do not support union affiliation.” members “by withholding wage increases, threatening showed up for its first Retirees Appreciation Luncheon. Held
Instead of listening, however, Waybourn has been and intimidating employees, targeting the positions of May 16 at The Desmond in Colonie, the attendees included (l to
more intent on hectoring: the Guild has filed a charge union supporters for restructuring, unilaterally chang- r) Chris Gloeckner and John Morrone, sitting; and Art Clemenzi
ing wages, hours and conditions of work, eliminating and Nancy Krueger, standing. Guild president Tim O’Brien cred-
of unfair labor practices over his alleged threat to fire
ited the retirees with making the crucial difference in stopping
two employees if they didn’t stop their union organiz- positions in the bargaining unit” and “threatening to
the Albany Times-Union’s efforts to take over the pension plan.
ing activities. Waybourn also has held captive audience terminate union supporters.”
Penny-pinching produces layoffs, oddities
Continued from page 1 affected, that assurance in some cases sim- (E&P reflects the new reality in other protesting such bottom-line fixation, his call
Time Inc., now but a middling province ply doesn’t wash. U.S. News & World ways: the once robust magazine has grown mid-May for creating a national commis-
in the AOL-Time Warner media empire, is Report, for example, will soon have to so anorexic it has room for only one long sion to focus on “unfettered market forces”
seen as particularly vulnerable to the con- shorten its title: after closing bureaus in feature per issue, while its help-wanted has been greeted with a yawn.
trolling AOL culture’s attention to Wall Tokyo and London within the past five classifieds—long a staple of job-hunting Addressing a Harvard Faculty Club din-
Street. Chairman Steve Case has promised years, it is looking to thin its editorial staff journalists—are down to a couple of pages.) ner of journalists and academics, Harris sug-
31% earnings growth this year, or about another 10%—and, more than likely, close None of this augurs well for an industry gested that a contemporary version of the
twice Time Inc.’s performance over the past its bureaus in Beijing and Moscow. And that increasingly can’t retain minority 1947 Hutchins Commission on Freedom of
decade—and that was before the current ad Editor & Publisher reports that Frank Lalli, employees in the newsroom, that has seen the Press could move the profits-vs.-quality
slump. Approximately 365 employees have who resigned as Sunday editor of New daily circulation slide from 62.8 million in debate onto a more public stage. Just such a
been asked to take voluntary retirement, the York’s Daily News after only three months, 1987 to 56.2 million in 1998 and that each recommendation was made by TNG’s
Time Inc. Research Center—which quit because he was tired of begging for year makes a smaller investment in capital Committee on the Future of Journalism a
employs 42—will be closed Aug. 31, and at contributions. improvements—all while seeking to couple of years ago, for many of the same
least 30 people have been fired outright, With fewer than two reporters working impress the investment community with reasons and with similarly lackluster results.
with more to come. solely on the Sunday paper, Lalli told E&P, ever higher profit margins. But while for- Instead, publishers keep experimenting
Although such cuts typically come with he had to “walk the halls looking for some- mer San Jose Mercury News publisher Jay with the odd and “bizarre.” And the body
promises that editorial quality won’t be one to do a story.” Harris has gathered warm applause for count keeps rising.
Though workplace changes, problems the same
Continued from page 1 affect our lives as high-tech Women’s Committee, the rights. Unorganized women workers around
benefits, paid time off and job security. And workers. And, in keeping See page 6 for conference brought together the world are being negatively affected by
guess what? Women with family responsi- with TNG and CWA’s goal related stories on the all sorts of CWA members, corporate globalization, like those who
bilities and those with lower skill sets are to provide lifelong learning “new economy” including TNG members of work as outsourced e-mail customer service
especially prone to finding themselves in to members, we offer high- other locals, IUE/CWA mem- reps in Gurgoan, India. Women in Ireland,
these “temporary” work arrangements. In tech training in programs bers from the industrial sec- South Africa, Costa Rica, Malaysia and
fact, many of our members and supporters and programming languages like Flash, tor, public sector employees, health care Indonesia do data entry for U.S.-based
through a variety of different employment By focusing on how we can organize to We were able to attend workshops on hardware in Mexico and China. These
relationships. build power for ourselves on the job and by topics such as education, public speaking, women workers are also a part of the new
This impermanence means that tradi- systematically talking to each other about our CWA history and women’s health. And economy, and we need to stand together
tional collective bargaining can be only one workplace issues, we are changing the cli- while none of the workshops dealt specifi- with our sisters as they struggle for the same
of our strategies for building power for our- mate of high-tech work in the region. And as cally with organizing, this was an overall issues that we do: justice, dignity and a
selves as workers and as women in the high- we work to build a majority at our workplaces theme of the conference, as emphasized by voice on the job.
tech industry. So at Wash-Tech we are look- and to attain collective bargaining agree- CWA Executive Vice President Larry The solidarity I felt at the CWA
ing at new ways of organizing, building an ments, we pressure our employers to change Cohen and TNG President Linda Foley. Women’s Conference demonstrated that we
industry-wide organization that is centered employment relationships, to improve bene- The issues facing women workers obvi- are on the right track. While there is still
at the worksite and is focused on workplace fits and to acknowledge our voice at the table. ously are not limited to WashTech women much to accomplish, we are working
and industry-specific issues. We mobilize As a young feminist and union activist or CWA women, or even to women in the together to expand our community and our
members to advocate on behalf of ourselves attending the women’s conference, I was United States. The “new” economy increas- union. After witnessing the incredible work
in public policy and legislative issues. We grateful to learn from and become inspired by ingly means a race to the bottom, as corpo- that so many of us do, I am once again very
keep each other informed on our website other CWA members who are committed to rations use free-trade agreements like proud to be part of CWA and TNG. I think
(www.washtech.org) about the issues that women’s issues. Organized by the CWA NAFTA and the FTAA to evade workers’ my grandmother would be proud, too.
4 THE GUILD REPORTER www.newsguild.org
Merit pay amounts to a blank check—
By Barbara Camens which is fixed as to timing, but discre-
TNG-CWA Legal Counsel tionary as to amount.
Employers sometimes argue that
ot all merit pay systems are created because merit pay is discretionary, they may
equal. When Guild contracts pro- discontinue merit increases at will, and
vide minimum wage scales that especially after a contract expires. The
conform to industry wage standards, merit NLRB repeatedly has held, however, that as
pay—in the form of “individual bargaining” long as certain aspects of a merit pay system
between employer and employee—can be are well-established and predictable, then
used to fairly reward top performance. discretionary increases must be given even
In far too many Guild contracts, howev- during a contractual hiatus to maintain the
er, the employer has succeeded in keeping status quo.
wage scales below market and uses merit So, if the timing of merit increases has
pay to selectively reward a chosen few, become well established—linked, for exam-
while the rest of the bargaining unit simply ple, to an employee’s anniversary date, or to
endures substandard wages. The Guild, receipt of an “outstanding” performance
meanwhile, often has little leverage to argue evaluation—then any discontinuation of
on behalf of an employee who feels unfairly that system likely would be an improper
evaluated or compensated. unilateral change in the terms and condi-
TNG-CWA locals therefore must remain tions of employment. This was the holding
vigilant regarding merit pay—both in con- in a Guild case against the Los Angeles
tract negotiations, when the merit pay sys- Daily News, where the employer retained a
tem is set, and in contract administration, certain range of discretion in evaluating
when merit increases are doled. Here are employee performance but the system as a er unfettered discretion to pick and choose issue in collective bargaining—namely,
some points to consider: whole was well-established and predictable: who will be rewarded, and to what degree. wages. The board therefore held that the
• Merit pay is a mandatory subject of employees were evaluated near their As one might expect, such attempts can employer could not implement its discre-
bargaining. An employer has a legal duty to employment anniversary dates, and merit quickly take the parties to impasse. tionary wage proposal without the union’s
bargain with the Guild over the procedures raises normally fell within a 3% to 5% Fortunately, the legal rules which would consent, even in the face of a legitimate
and criteria for granting merit increases. The range for those who received a positive then apply are quite favorable. impasse in bargaining.
employer has a statutory obligation to pro- appraisal. The NLRB therefore squarely Typically, an employer may unilaterally Questions have been legitimately raised
vide, upon the Guild’s request, payroll held that the employer’s unilateral decision implement any mandatory subject of bar- as to whether the McClatchy doctrine has
information regarding the award of merit to discontinue merit increases pending gaining upon impasse in contract negotia- survived the disastrous decision in Detroit
pay within the unit. negotiation of an initial contract was tions, consistent with the “last, best and Newspapers v. NLRB. There, in the context
Unfortunately, too many locals fail to improper. final offer.” But in McClatchy Newspapers, of the Detroit strike, the District of
diligently exercise their right of information The employer’s legal duty to continue Inc. v. NLRB, the board carved out an Columbia Circuit Court—the same appel-
and some have no idea how much bargain- giving merit increases as a matter of statu- exception to this rule with regard to discre- late court which had decided McClatchy—
ing unit employees actually earn. Without tory obligation, even after the contract has tionary pay systems that lack specific, found that the employer’s merit pay propos-
that payroll information, there is no way for expired, is extremely important to union objective criteria for awarding merit pay. al was sufficiently fixed to permit its unilat-
a Guild local to evaluate the adequacy of negotiators because employers often threat- McClatchy’s contract proposal had set no eral implementation upon impasse. The
unit compensation, to bargain for fair com- en to discontinue merit pay to force a settle- criteria for determining the amount or tim- court noted in particular that the proposed
pensation, or to discern discriminatory ment. Note well, however, that when the ing of merit increases and also failed to contract offered annual 1% across the board
wage patterns which may exist within the contract makes clear on its face that merit allow for Guild input, either in the employ- increases (applied to actual employee
unit. Merit pay information also is crucial to increases shall be granted only during the er’s initial decision to grant individual merit wages, not just to contractual scales),
TNG’s ability to conduct meaningful wage contract’s effective term, the employer increases, or through the grievance proce- assured average merit increases across the
surveys among Guild locals or within the might be privileged to discontinue the dure after the increases were received. unit of 4%, 3%, and 3% annually, and pro-
industry at large. increases when the contract expires. In upholding the NLRB’s finding of an vided for annual performance evaluations
Moreover, while some Guild contracts Guild leaders therefore should resist any unfair labor practice, the reviewing court linked to receipt of merit pay which could
require employers to provide payroll data contract language that limits merit increases found that permitting the employer to uni- be grieved but not arbitrated. In the court’s
(including merit pay information) on a reg- to the effective term of the agreement, to laterally implement such a discretionary eyes, these criteria sufficiently distin-
ular basis, employers frequently turn those avoid a financial squeeze on members dur- pay system upon impasse, without the guished the merit pay proposal in Detroit
provisions on their heads to argue that the ing any hiatus between contracts. Guild’s agreement, would be “so inherently from the McClatchy rule.
Guild has waived its right to any additional, • An employer may not unilaterally destructive of the fundamental principles of Viewed in the most objective light, the
or more frequent, access to payroll data. implement a totally discretionary merit collective bargaining that it could not be Detroit decision did not undo the
Any waiver of the Guild’s legal right to pay system, even upon impasse. sanctioned as part of the doctrine created to McClatchy doctrine but helped define its
request and obtain payroll information must Increasingly, publishers are seeking through break impasse and restore active collective parameters. McClatchy’s continuing rele-
be, by NLRB law, “clear and unmistakable” collective bargaining to broaden their dis- bargaining.” The court further noted that the vance was demonstrated in the same
and any waiver arguments should be mea- cretion in compensating employees. Many pay system would confer such broad discre- appelate court’s recent decision in Anderson
sured against that favorable standard. Guild locals have been hit at the bargaining tion upon the employer on matters of com- Enterprises, d/b/a Royal Mirror Sales v.
• An employer may not unilaterally table with proposals to discontinue all pensation as to undermine the Guild’s rep- NLRB, in which it enforced a board ruling
change or discontinue a merit pay system increases in scales and to grant the employ- resentative role on perhaps the most central Continued on page 5
On getting whip-sawed by ‘merit’ pay
By R. Ray Rudersdorfer The company’s approach, for the second Three days later, on pay day, the chapel tor, the company notified the union it was
President, TNG-CWA Local 30403 time in four years, was to renegotiate every chairman informed me that many people prepared to pay the negotiated increases to
clause in the agreement and to combine had not received the negotiated increase. I all employees working for the company at
erit pay is discretionary pay, many of them into less “restrictive” lan- called the company representative, who said the time of the ratification vote.
dependent on the whim of your guage. It also proposed that merit-pay lan- that any person who had been given merit Attached to the final settlement agree-
employer or boss. And boss is a guage be incorporated into other clauses. pay and was making more than the negoti- ment was a threatening letter from the com-
four-letter word. This proposal was rejected by the union. We ated rate would not receive the increase. pany lawyer that alleged that the appeal for
These statements are as true today as insisted that merit pay be identified as a sep- The company’s position was that this had a third-party resolution had done serious
they were at the beginning of the Industrial arate provision. The company finally been agreed to by the Guild representative harm to union-company relations.
Revolution. To an employer, merit pay still agreed. who had negotiated the previous contract— As TNG-CWA Secretary-Treasurer
means “control” and control means power. Because of a 10% wage roll-back three although the company had not made the Bernie Lunzer wrote in the April edition of
TNG Local 30403 in Vancouver had a years earlier, the union’s negotiating team committee aware of this practice while bar- The Guild Reporter, discretionary (merit)
first-hand experience with abuse of merit pay. was determined to regain monetary position gaining the 2000-2003 contract. Moreover, pay is an easy route to abuse. We must use
Last July, the contract with Western MailTech with this agreement. The settlement recom- when the Guild representative was contact- renewed pressure to push back against
Ltd., a medium-sized direct-mailing house mended by our committee was for a term of ed he denied any such agreement had been unfair pay schemes. Wage minimums must
with 35 to 40 employees in Delta, B.C., three years, with across-the-board increases made. be raised to reflect the real value of work
expired. I and employee representatives of of 3% in the first year, 2.5% in the second The union went to the B.C. Labour being done.
the unionized employees in all departments and 2.5% in the third year. The contract was Relations Board and filed charges of bad-
except sales staff met with representatives of ratified by a large majority of the employees faith bargaining against the company. After Reprinted from the May-June issue of
the company to bargain a new contract. and signed the same day. several days of hearings before an arbitra- TNG Today.
JUNE 15, 2001 THE GUILD REPORTER 5
Continued from page 4 pay systems are coupled with min-
that barred the employer’s post-
impasse implementation of a com-
pensation plan; the court noted
imum wage scales that guarantee
fair, adequate compensation, such
systems ultimately may under-
top minimum salaries*
that the plan’s discretionary nature mine industry wage standards. Contract Minimum After Contract Minimum After
would undermine the process of Why pay more money across the
collective bargaining and the unit when the threat of exit by any New York, NY, Times $1416.83 2 yrs Jersey City, NJ, Jersey Journal 795.03 4 yrs
union’s role within it. Although particular, valued employee can Boston, MA, Globe 1260.16 5 yrs Peoria, IL, Journal Star 788.00 5 yrs
the plan included a detailed flat- be met by an immediate merit-pay Victoria, BC, Times-Colonist 1233.12 5 yrs Mt. Clemens, MI, Macomb Daily,
rate system of hourly wages, it offer that matches or tops the com- Philadelphia, PA, Inquirer, Daily Tribune (2) 785.66 5 yrs
also permitted the employer to petition? For all of these reasons, Daily News (2) 1200.00 5 yrs Sacramento, CA, Bee 780.00 6 yrs
Chicago, IL, Sun-Timesa 1182.01 5 yrs Bremerton, WA, Sun 768.18 6 yrs
assign or reassign employees to Guild locals should proceed with Wall Street Journal, NYb 1180.00 6 yrs Cape Breton, ON, Post 763.66 6 yrs
any job classification—a degree care and caution when negotiating Montréal, PQ, Gazette 1166.00 5 yrs Sheboygan, WI, Press 760.62 5 yrs
of discretion so great it “nullifies for employer discretion in setting Ottawa, ON, Citizen 1114.56 5 yrs Yakima, WA, Herald-Republic 757.20 4 yrs
the effect of any otherwise levels of compensation. Minneapolis, MN, Star Tribune 1114.25 5 yrs Lowell, MA, Sun 751.14 5 yrs
enforceable standards the plan To recap: Cleveland, OH, Plain Dealer 1103.21 5 yrs Duluth, MN, News-Tribune 745.46 5 yrs
may have.” 1. Merit pay is a mandatory Honolulu, HI, Advertiser 1099.78 5 yrs El Diario - La Prensa, NY 736.65 4 yrs
When, then, is a merit pay pro- subject of bargaining. Bargain Pittsburgh, PA, Post-Gazette 1090.00 6 yrs Fall River, MA, Herald-News 736.28 4 yrs
Honolulu, HI, Star-Bulletin 1088.00 5 yrs Canton, OH, Repository 735.97 5 yrs
gram so discretionary as to require hard for objective criteria in the St. Paul, MN, Pioneer Press 1075.01 5 yrs Peterborough, ON, Examiner 726.85 6 yrs
union consent for its implementa- employee evaluation process, for a San Jose, CA, Mercury-News 1066.14 6 yrs Los Angeles, CA, Daily News 721.14 6 yrs
tion? And when may an employer direct link between standards of St. Louis, MO, Post-Dispatch 1054.00 5 yrs Stratford, ON, Beacon Herald 719.25 5 yrs
simply implement a discretionary performance and the receipt of Baltimore, MD, Sun 1046.00 5 yrs Youngstown, OH, Vindicator 713.35 5 yrs
pay system upon impasse? merit pay, and for a meaningful Denver, CO, Post 1030.00 5 yrs York, PA, Daily Record 708.00 4 yrs
Employers appear legally free Guild role in challenging individ- Toledo, OH, Blade 1023.87 4 yrs Long Beach, CA, Press-Telegram 707.00 6 yrs
to implement a merit-pay system ual evaluations. Buffalo, NY, News 1020.64 5 yrs Modesto, CA, Bee 700.00 6 yrs
San Francisco, CA, Chronicle 1018.68 6 yrs York, PA, Dispatch 695.67 4 yrs
on reaching impasse when such Negotiate a minimum merit Washington, DC, Post 1002.20 5 yrs Pueblo, CO, Chieftaing 695.22 5 yrs
increases are directly linked to pool or for average minimum Halifax, ON, Herald 1000.00 4 yrs Knoxville, TN, News-Sentinel 692.16 4 yrs
grievable performance evalua- merit increases. Maui, HI, News 984.71 5 yrs Pawtucket, RI, Times 692.02 4 yrs
tions; when the contract sets a min- Negotiate for minimum wage Providence, RI, Journal-Bulletin 968.91 4 yrs Sioux City, IA, Journal 678.53 4 yrs
imum average for annual merit scales that are meaningful, ade- Boston, MA, Herald 967.65 4 yrs Fresno, CA, Bee 675.00 6 yrs
increases; and when such discre- quate and in line with industry Akron, OH, Beacon Journal 965.00 4 yrs Kingston, NY, Daily Freeman 665.07 4 yrs
tionary raises are coupled with wage standards. The narrower the Manchester, NH, Union Leaderc 956.83 3 yrs Dayton, OH, Daily News 660.50 5 yrs
Denver, CO, Rocky Mt. News 949.00 5 yrs Harrisburg, PA, Patriot-News 649.10 4 yrs
fixed, across-the-board raises. To employer’s range of discretion and Memphis, TN, Commercial Appeal 939.54 6 yrs Woonsocket, RI, Call 607.72 4 yrs
the extent that a merit pay system the greater the union’s role, the Cincinnati, OH, Kentucky Post (2) 937.50 5 yrs Medicine Hat, AB, News 599.62 5 yrs
provides greater employer discre- less likely merit pay can be abused Delaware County, PA, Times 912.75 5 yrs Monessen, PA, Valley Independent 592.24 5 yrs
tion, fewer minimum guarantees, to undermine prevailing wage Erie, PA, Times-News 901.52 5 yrs Hazelton, PA, Standard-Speaker 585.71 4 yrs
or a lesser role for the union, one standards or the union’s represen- Seattle, WA, Post-Intelligencer 887.73 6 yrs Terre Haute, IN, Tribune-Star 585.19 5 yrs
could argue convincingly for tative status, or to permit discrim- Kenosha, WI, News 883.26 5 yrs San Juan, PR, El Vocero 585.00 5 yrs
application of the McClatchy rule. inatory patterns in compensation. Eugene, OR, Register Guard 882.73 6 yrs Alameda, CA, Newspapers, Inc. 580.00 6 yrs
Seattle, WA, Times 880.17 5 yrs Lexington, KY, Herald-Leader 575.00 4 yrs
• Guild locals should use 2. Guild locals should routinely Moncton, NB, Times Transcript 877.28 5 yrs Waterville, ME, Sentinel 571.16 5 yrs
available legal tools to negotiate demand payroll information regard- Waukegan, IL, News-Sun 869.94 5 yrs Bakersfield, CA, Californian 570.65 5 yrs
reasonable, objective criteria for ing merit pay and should provide Indianapolis, IN, Star, News (2) 861.00 6 yrs Lindsay, ON, Daily Post 550.29 5 yrs
the award of merit pay. Even that payroll data to TNG. Unless the Milwaukee, WI, Journal Sentineld 860.00 5 yrs Bellevue, WA, Eastside Journal 546.00 5 yrs
when a local membership favors union knows exactly what employ- Santa Rosa, CA, Press Democrat 857.51 6 yrs Wilkes-Barre, PA, Citizens’ Voice 538.00 4 yrs
merit pay, Guild leadership should ees are earning, it cannot intelli- Allentown, PA, Calle 857.27 4 yrs San Juan, PR, Star 528.00 6 yrs
carefully scrutinize all merit pay gently and effectively negotiate fair Sudbury, ON, Star 854.44 6 yrs Massillon, OH, Independent 490.13 4 yrs
North Bay, ON, Nugget 848.03 5 yrs Norristown, PA, Times Herald 482.42 5 yrs
proposals and existing compensa- wage standards or ensure that merit Detroit, MI, Free Press 841.01 4 yrs Noticias del Mundo, NY 457.25 4 yrs
tion systems because of the many pay is fairly awarded. Detroit, MI, News 841.01 4 yrs Rochester, NY, Dem. & Chronicle 419.00 4 yrs
potential pitfalls. 3. Seek to challenge any uni- Pottstown, PA, Mercury 837.44 5 yrs Norwalk, CT, Hour 415.00 2 yrs
Some argue, in both labor and lateral move by an employer with Kingston, ON, Whig-Standardf 834.93 5 yrs Utica, NY, Observer-Dispatch 387.50 5 yrs
academic circles, that merit pay regard to a merit pay system. If the Joliet, IL, Herald News 834.67 4 yrs
weakens a union’s collective employer attempts to impose a Hilo, HI, Tribune-Herald 834.56 5 yrs Average Reporter Top Minimum: $822.88
dynamic by pitting employees merit pay proposal, even upon the Portland, ME, Press Herald 818.49 4 yrs
a—$1175.14 for reporter/assistant editor.
Albany, NY, Times-Union 811.84 4 yrs
against each other and by permit- legitimate declaration of impasse, Monterey, CA, Herald 808.00 6 yrs
b—Special writer $1307.00.
c—$969.28 for senior reporter.
ting direct dealing with an seek advice from TNG on whether Sault Ste. Marie, ON, Star 807.35 4 yrs d—After 3 years for fully qualified practitioner.
employer, to the detriment of the McClatchy might prohibit such a Scranton, PA, Times, Tribune (2) 806.49 3 yrs e—$994.00 for senior journalist.
union’s representational status. move and whether an unfair labor f—Photographer/reporter $849.93 plus $110 permonth camera
Brockton, MA, Enterprise 803.25 4 yrs
Some Guild locals also have practice charge should be filed. If Fredericton, NB, Daily Gleaner 802.96 5 yrs g—An additional $20.00 per week after 15 years.
expressed well-founded concerns the employer stops granting merit St. John, NB, Telegraph Journal,
that merit pay systems perpetuate increases upon contract expira- Times Globe (2) 795.95 5 yrs (Number of papers per contract in parentheses)
race, sex and other invidious tion, carefully examine the lan- *As of April 1, 2001, as compiled by the TNG-CWA Collective Bargaining Dept.; Canadian wages in Canadian $.
forms of discrimination: any chal- guage in the expired agreement:
lenge to discriminatory pay pat- unless merit pay is linked exclu- Deferred Increases
terns may be met with the frustrat- sively to the contract term, the Akron: $27.98 on 8/25/01, $27.80 on 8/25/02. Long Beach: $14.14 on 7/29/01, $14.43 on 7/28/02.
ing response that “all merit pay employer must continue granting Albany: $24.35 on 8/1/01, $25.08 on 8/1/02 and 25.83 Los Angeles: $14.43 on 5/9/01.
decisions are left to the discretion status quo increases as a matter of on 8/1/03. Manchester: $31.10 on 1/1/02; sr. rep., $31.50 on 1/1/02.
Baltimore: $23.00 on 6/24/01 and 6/23/02. Massillon: $14.72 on 2/1/02.
of management.” statutory obligation. If in doubt, Bellevue: $10.80 on 12/22/02. Memphis: $25.14 on 1/11/01, $28.18 on 1/11/02, $29.03
And, of course, unless merit consult with TNG. Boston: $24.67 on 8/1/02. on 1/11/03.
Brockton: $19.12 on 5/1/00, $11.76 on 5/1/01. Milwaukee: $26.00 on 1/2/02, $31.00 on 1/2/03; senior
Buffalo: $21.83 on 8/1/01. journalist $30 on 1/2/02, $36 on 1/2/03.
Newsprint use plunges Canton: $22.08 on 9/6/01
Chicago: $45.46 on 10/1/01.
Cincinnati: $25.00 on 1/1/02.
Mt Clemens: $20.16 on 1/1/02, $19.42 on 1/1/03.
New York: $28.34 on 3/31/02.
Norristown: $14.47 on 6/7/01.
hile newspaper pub- ballooned as most newspapers Denver Post: $31.00 on 1/1/02; Rep./Photo combo, North Bay: $16.96 on 1/1/02, $17.29 on 1/1/03.
lishers justify sacking have slashed consumption, chiefly $34.00 on 1/1/02. Ottawa: $27.86 on 7/1/01, $22.84 on 7/1/02.
by converting to narrower web Detroit News: $15.32 on 11/16/01, $15.62 on 11/16/02. Peterborough: $14.73 on 8/16/01.
employees by pointing Philadelphia: $27.47 on 9/1/01, $27.48 on 9/1/02, $27.47
Dow Jones: $21.00 on 5/1/01.
to higher costs and lower rev- widths, cutting special sections Duluth: $22.36 on 1/1/02. on 9/1/03 and $27.48 on 9/1/04.
enues, at least half of that equation and zoned editions and decreasing El Diaro: $22.09 on 7/1/01. Pittsburgh: $15.00 on 7/1/01.
page count. March newsprint con- Erie: $31.55 on 3/2/02, $27.99 on 3/2/03. San Jose: $14.24 on 7/1/01, $10.11 on 1/1/02, $12.86 on
is questionable. Although news- 7/1/02, $11.49 on 1/1/03 and $15.61 on 7/1/03.
Fall River: $18.40 on 10/2/01, $18.87 on 10/2/02.
print producers tried to bump sumption was down 9.7% from Fredericton: $16.05 on 11/1/01, $16.38 on 11/1/02, Sheboygan: $22.85 on 1/31/02.
prices by $50 a ton earlier this the same month a year earlier; $16.70 on 11/1/03. St. Paul: $37.62 on 9/27/01.
April consumption was off an Harrisburg: $10.00 on 7/1/01 and 7/1/02. Terre Haute: $14.38 on 8/16/01.
year, half of that increase has Toledo: $10.00 on 3/22/01, $17.20 on 9/22/01, $11.45 on
Hawaii: $16.49 on 9/10/01, $22.32 on 5/1/02.
already been rescinded and there’s even steeper 13.3%. Hilo: $8.34 on 1/1/02. 3/22/02 and $17.24 on 9/22/02.
some possibility of further price Newsprint is a publisher’s sec- Joliet: $24.31 on 7/1/00, $25.04 on 7/1/01. Woonsocket: $13.68 on 9/16/01, $13.98 on 9/16/02.
ond largest expense item—trailing Knoxville: $20.16 on 10/25/01, $20.76 on 10/25/02, York Daily Record: $22.00 on 10/1/01.
cuts later this year. York Dispatch: $13.91 on 10/1/01, $14.20 on 10/9/02.
$21.38 on 10/25/03.
Newsprint inventories have only payroll costs.
6 THE GUILD REPORTER www.newsguild.org
Brave ‘We have some concerns
about whether contract
new work with our agency is a
good match for you . . . .’
world By Philip Gaines
WashTech, TNG-CWA Local 37083
“concern” for my happiness, but it is more likely
he was spitting mad. In one newspaper account,
my statements were featured in opposition to those
any employers have learned how to made by the president of my own company. You
he “new economy” (tired of that cliche yet?) was supposed to be intimidate workers by couching threats do the math.
the ultimate expression of hard-working individualism. Rewards or unfair actions in courteous rhetoric. Because my employer acted illegally with his
would flow to those with skill, brains and effort; everyone else— For instance, last summer I got into trouble with statements, WashTech told me I could file an unfair
well, there were always burgers to be slung and groceries to be bagged. my employer because of public statements that I labor practice charge against my employer. The
But scarcely more than a decade after the new economy gained traction, made in support of WashTech. After I was quoted NLRB helped me through the process, which is
it’s already clear that some things never change—including the one great in the local media, at a press similar to filing a lawsuit. If
immutable: those with money aren’t eager to share it. conference, and on the you file within six months of
They’ll change the law if that works to their advantage. WashTech website, I received the unfair action, an NLRB
They’ll browbeat the dissenters if that works better. a simple email with a simple agent essentially becomes your
Most insidiously, they’ll convince their employees that when it comes purpose, as follows: lawyer, and if you have enough
to negotiating wages, working conditions and job security, the individual “I wanted to confirm that evidence the NLRB will insist
worker is on a level playing field with mega-corporations that can ship these articles have quoted you on corrective action.
their jobs overseas in a heartbeat. correctly and that this is a fair In my case, the corrective
And people buy it. representation of your perspec- action was very simple: My
For a quick exploration of such issues, visit the WashTech website tive of your work with [com- employer settled the case (and
(www.washtech.org) for a point-counterpoint on the need for unionizing pany name]? . . . We have yours will, too) because he
the high-tech sector; it also links to another site that includes a sharp some concerns about whether didn’t want the publicity and
exchange of opinions on the subject, including the following excerpts: contract work with our agency because he might well have lost
is a good match for you. Any the case if he’d chosen to fight.
JimO—10:30am Jun 5, 2001 EST thoughts you have on this No one got tarred and feath-
If my dad reads this he will disown me. You see he was a high muck- would be appreciated.” ered. Instead, my employer got
ety muck in a union. Contrary to popular belief not all unions are run by I read some euphemisms Philip Gaines, looking—in his a stern warning and I received
mobsters or crooked scoundrels. That said, I don’t think there is any rea- into this message, and I sup- words—“unemployed, unshaven a self-confidence boost. More
son for IT workers to unionize. . . . pose that I was correct, but I and kickin’ it.” specifically, the settlement
In the first place most IT workers are salaried staff, NOT hourly responded by saying that these included three things: (1) I received a tidy sum of
employees. The main reason for this is the high price of IT staff, mean- statements and activities did not affect my work money from my employer. (2) My employer was
ing that paying OT to hourly IT people gets real expensive real quick. performance, that I still wanted to be a contractor, required to apologize and say “Oops. Our mistake.
Secondly, unlike most union employees we work in a clean, undan- etc. This fell on deaf ears. The company policy was Do you want to work for us again?” (3) My
gerous environment. The poor guy at the end of the assembly line does clear: no “unhappy” contractors. employer was required to post a notice at his
not. For a while, I left the issue alone. I was being office.
Thirdly, IT staff often change jobs at the drop of a hat. This ability of chastised for my principles, but I also needed to I would have preferred that the notice go on a
skilled IT people to change a job because we don't like the working con- pay the bills. Like many people, I felt I could not website, but overall I think this situation worked
ditions is not something that most union people can do. . . . afford to tell my employer what he could do with out well. On a bad day, I could belittle my litiga-
For the record, I’m 42 years old and have been in IT since 1979. such seemingly courteous email. What if he secret- tion efforts. I am a writer and web designer, and the
ly blacklisted me? What if he passed a memo to federal government should be the last thing I need
OldWilly—10:25pm Jun 6, 2001 EST everyone in the industry? to get ahead. On a good day (today), however, I
Lucky you have a job at 42. In retrospect, I was wrong to delay the filing of can be comforted by the fact that justice won a
If you lose it, you won’t find another easily. For a long time, I felt the my complaint with the National Labor Relations round and that I’m back where I was before (with
same as you about unions. Now the shoe’s on the other foot. A lot of peo- Board. My employer had already cut the cord, and a few souvenirs).
ple have been thrown out of work lately. I turned 50 yesterday and let me there really is no reason to be paranoid about the I could finish by urging you to get some back-
tell you, there is age discrimination and there is discrimination in IT whole industry turning against you because you bone and sue your pesky employer, but I won’t.
against mainframe programmers. Younger hiring managers don’t want enforced your rights. Those rights, by the way, are Most employers are not out to get you, and the
anything to do with the old timers.. . . . in Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act, solutions to most work-related disputes don’t just
Someone said there are plenty of consultants to cross picket lines. Let which specifies that “employees shall have the plop into your lap. Nonetheless, if your employer
me tell you what I believe. With unions there would be fewer consul- right to . . . self-organization, to form, join, or throws you a curve, there are ways to hit it. You
tants. They would have real jobs. The consultants are the ones who have assist labor organizations.” would be amazed at the kind of support that your
been let go and can’t find steady work in a lot of cases, but are too young WashTech, for those of you who don’t know, is actions will elicit. Remember, you have a voice—
to retire and don’t want to move and jerk their kids out of school or their a labor organization. Actions made on its behalf so don’t be afraid to use it.
spouse out of his/her job. . . . are protected under the NLRA. My employer acted
Wall Street is driving everything and the executives and boards are illegally when it essentially fired me for supporting Adapted from an article on the WashTech web-
getting away with robbery at the expense of the little guys. The corpora- a union organization. My employer expressed site, at www.washtech.org.
tions get bigger and more impersonal. Need I say more?
New bill threatens overtime for techies
bill that would amend the Fair flood of more than 700 emails, letters and grammers, software engineers or other sim- later removed, after heavy lobbying by
Labor Standards Act’s provisions faxes protesting the change. Fewer than 50 ilarly skilled workers who earn more than high-tech employers. The exemption
governing overtime pay has been people wrote to support the change. $27.63 an hour. marked the first time in the history of the
reintroduced in Congress, potentially WashTech was founded in large part “The proposed new language is so broad FLSA that an exemption to federal overtime
exempting thousands of high-tech workers because of worker disenchantment at the it could easily be interpreted to exempt any law was based solely on how much an indi-
from receiving extra pay when they work state’s submission to the Software Alliance, high-tech worker under the sun,” said Mike vidual earns per hour.
more than 40 hours in a week. convincing many high-tech employees that Blain, co-founder and president of Wash- Congressman Rob Andrews of New
The proposed legislation is of special they need their own statewide organization Tech. “This has less to do with exempting Jersey, co-sponsor of the new bill, insists he
concern to WashTech, which three years to lobby on their behalf. professionals and more to do with another is motivated more by the legal ambiguity in
ago saw the Washington State Department The proposed federal legislation would Congressional giveaway to a powerful spe- the current exemption than by cost consid-
of Labor and Industries adopt the federal add four new job categories—network cial interest group—the high-tech industry.” erations. “Employers are not concerned
rules as a result of lobbying by the administrator, database analyst, designer The original federal exemption for com- about pay,” he explained. “They are paying
Washington Software Alliance. The depart- and developer—that could be exempted puter professionals was passed in 1990 and top dollar to get people. These changes are
ment’s action effectively repealed more from overtime pay. The law already was indexed to increases in the federal min- about the legal risk and ambiguity that an
favorable state rules and was taken despite a excludes computer systems engineers, pro- imum wage. That indexing requirement was employer faces under the current law.”
APRIL 15, 2001
JUNE 26,1996 GUILD REPORTER
used to be . . .
By Eric Geist, Director of Field Operations
hat old Mercer Ellington song first Guild had already recognized the need to
recorded more than 60 years ago, organize advertising department workers.
“Things Ain’t What They Used to That’s right, The Newspaper Guild was
Be,” could be an anthem for The Newspaper originally the American Newspaper
Guild’s organizing history. Guild—and it stayed that way while it orga-
The Guild began as a union for journal- nized magazines, wire services, broadcast-
ists at daily newspapers, but soon expanded ing, non-dailies, minority-owned publica-
to represent workers in every newspaper tions, consumer publications, foreign-lan-
department. Today, we also represent people guage dailies, etc. The name remained until
who work for weekly newspapers, wire ser- 1971, even though the Guild began repre- When the Streetwise board of directors newspaper man probably works on an eight-
vices, the religious press, minority-owned senting Canadian workers in the 1950s. voluntarily recognized the Chicago local, it hour-a-day and six-day-a-week basis.
newspapers, news magazines, education- Like an evolving jazz theme in which marked the first time the Guild organized Obviously the publishers, by patting their
related magazines, consumer publications, a the melody remains constant but the solos workers at a paper that gives homeless peo- fathead employees on the head and calling
book publisher, radio and TV stations, pub- change, the Guild over the years branched ple a chance to earn money instead of beg- them ‘professionals’ hope to maintain this
lic broadcasting, Spanish-language print out more and more. Many locals became ging. working week scale.”
and broadcast outlets, labor union trade committed to organizing workers who Yes, the Guild is not the same “newspa- Maybe men and women don’t work six
papers and staff, print shops, financial demand a voice in the workplace regardless per writers’ union” that Heywood Broun days per week in the IT industry, but there
newsletters, employee-owned companies, of where they work. called for, 68 years ago. When we think seems to be a lot of rationalizing about long
public relations firms, a construction When the New York local won an elec- about organizing, we should think like the work days.
newsletter, social workers, credit union tion the second time around for mostly non- song, “Things Ain’t What They Used to Broun went on to observe about the pub-
employees, United Way employees, foreign English-speaking Pakistani emigrants at Be”—and never were. For further evidence lishers, “And they’ll succeed, for the men
language translators and interpreters, sign Hudson News, its success represented two of that, I urge you to read WashTech who make up the editorial staffs of the coun-
language interpreters, film extras and IT organizing milestones for the Guild. One, it President Mike Blain’s opinion piece, “Why try are peculiarly susceptible to such sooth-
workers. And, just recently, the Guild orga- was the first election victory in which the IT Workers Need a Union,” found at ing classifications as ‘professionals’ . . . and
nized a Chinese-language newspaper and organized workers predominantly speak a www.washtech.org/news/010607_unionyes. other terms which have completely
two gay publications. (My apologies if I left foreign language that isn’t related to the php3. And be sure to follow the links to the entranced them by falsely dignifying and
any group off this list.) employer’s business; and second, it was the opposing opinion and the readers’ forum. glorifying them and their work.” While that
All the above workplaces were orga- first time we organized newsstand workers. (See related items on page 6.) If some of the susceptibility didn’t change overnight, jour-
nized by the Guild in the years since When the Northern California Media negative postings sound familiar, you’ve nalists of such profitable, respected publica-
Heywood Broun in 1933 called for a union Workers local organized the Chinese Daily probably read Heywood Broun’s August 7, tions as The New York Times, The Boston
of journalists. By 1941, the first of many News, it was the first election we won in 1933 column in the New York World- Globe, The Washington Post and The Wall
times that Mercer Ellington’s father Edward which the union and the National Labor Telegram calling for the creation of a union Street Journal eventually saw the wisdom of
Kennedy “Duke” Ellington recorded and Relations Board needed to use an inter- for journalists. Broun’s clarion call.
played that song, the American Newspaper preter. As Broun wrote then, “The average So, too, will IT workers.
. . . but the more things change, etc. etc. of 15.6%. The average for all American Howard Johnsonize it. Howard Johnson potential for diversity. And it is more likely
By Ben Bagdikian
manufacturing corporations during that restaurants have some virtues: Their produc- to have a local owner with a stake in the
merican daily newspapers are one period was 8.2%. tion and accounting are modern and standard, community. He can have all the arrogance
of the most profitable of all major These publicly traded corporations con- but the food is never distinguished and the of a local duke, but at least he’s a local one
industries in the United States. And trol 23% of all daily circulation in the coun- chief function is to turn a standard profit. who has to faced his subjects and isn’t an
they were during the 1970-71-72 “Great try. Contrary to popular impression, with the The danger is that loss of independent anonymous “them” in a remote corporate
Recession.” exception of the Washington Post Co., their papers will fix a permanent standard of local headquarters. And when it comes to news
The illusion of poverty is part of the revenues and profits are overwhelmingly mediocrity, except for a few flagship papers. and ideas, a mixed bag of local dukes is bet-
Hetty Green Syndrome that seems to be in from their newspaper operations and not The primary requirement of the local operator ter than one national king.
the genes of American publishers. . . . Hetty broadcasting or other subsidiaries. . . . is to keep out the competition and to ship the Almost every local editor and publisher
Green was one of the country’s shrewdest Why the rush to buy newspapers? First, required annual profits to headquarters. . . . thinks he is putting out the best possible
financiers and certainly the greatest female they make lots of money. Second, they are One need not romanticize the indepen- product, but it is clear this is not so. The live
money-maker in our history. When she died going to make even more in the future dent paper in order to regret its disappear- newshole in most newspapers, for example,
in 1916 she had accumulated about $100 because they are finally adopting 20th Cen- ance. Most independent papers are is a national disgrace; the industry has the
million. On one occasion when a bank tury production techniques—which, in an mediocre or worse, just as most chain third highest profit of all industries yet
offended her she pulled out all her accounts industry that spends 50%-70% of its budget papers are. Few are operated on standards of skimps on its central product. . . .
and drove away in a cab with baskets con- on manpower, means enormous savings. quality that good journalists accept.
taining $25 million. But she slept in assorted Third, for all practical purposes they are a But if one has to choose between a Excerpted from The Guild Reporter,
rooms in the Bowery, usually traveled in limited commodity, like beach-front property, mediocre independent paper and a mediocre April 13, 1973. Bagdikian was then presi-
streetcars, and when she needed medical and as independent monopoly papers get chain paper, the local independent has dent of the Mellett Fund for a Free and
attention she put on rags and attended char- more scarce their value goes up. Fourth, tax advantages. For one thing, it has more Responsible Press.
ity clinics. She was always afraid that if she laws and the way newspapers operate almost
looked wealthy her lawyers and bankers and
doctors would overcharge her, as they
dictate purchase of other media properties. . . .
Whatever the brave speeches about local
undoubtedly would have. She also hated to autonomy that are standard ritual at every To the Editor, ing by Nicaraguan Contras. Despite some
spend money. chain acquisition, the purchased paper edi- Jay Harris resigned as publisher of the minor errors, Webb’s conclusions were
torially is usually no better or worse than it San Jose Mercury News for a good rea- later supported by the Hitz report.
The Hetty Green Syndrome is endemic
son—short-sighted executives guided only Press freedom is certainly endangered
among American newspaper publishers. was before. What the chain generally wants
by numbers. But he could have resigned a by market maniacs and executive bean-
With periodic remissions. . . . from the paper is high annual profit to be few years sooner for a better reason—the counters, but don’t leave out the spy agen-
The average pretax profit of publicly used not in improving local quality but to be paper’s shabby treatment of reporter Gary cies.
traded papers for the last five years for exported to the home office to help purchase Webb. —Per Fagereng
which figures are complete—including the another paper someplace else. Webb’s series, “Dark Alliance,” Portland, Oregon
“Great Recession”—shows a profit on sales The usual effect of buying a paper is to revealed the CIA’s complicity in drug-deal- SF Examiner (retired)
By TNG Convention action, letters to the editor shall personal attack shall be given opportunity to reply in Deadline: Friday before publication. (Next deadline:
be limited to 200 words and shall avoid libel and sub- the same issue, but publication of either attack or reply July 13.) Letters may be e-mailed to the editor at
jects detrimental to the Guild. Members subjected to shall not be delayed longer than one issue. email@example.com.
8 THE GUILD REPORTER www.newsguild.org
Even Pacifica infected by corporatization
Continued from page 1 was abruptly switched to music. In which The Guild Reporter is a leveraged. The local boards and able that the board’s initiatives
high-profile resignations. Demo- a floor speech in March, shortly member), a group not known for most listeners reply that the have been consistent with corpo-
cracy Now!, the network’s most after the incident, he described the its activism, unanimously adopted national board is simply trying to rate values of efficiency and max-
honored feature, on several occa- “weird and frightening experience a resolution May 23 that condemns clone NPR—or worse. imizing resources. But such values
sions has been thrown off the air of being gagged.” the network’s union-busting tactics Whatever the merits of the are not consistent with local con-
entirely, producer Amy Goodman, Owens’ gagging, by all and violations of workers’ rights. national board’s criticisms, there’s trol, provocative debate and the
rebuked by management for her accounts, was incidental to a At issue is a struggle between a no question that the changes at challenges to authority that have
aggressive questioning of Spike broader gag rule at all Pacifica sta- national board of directors that Pacifica are being driven from the characterized Pacifica over the
Lee about his Nike endorsements tions that bans any on-air discus- increasingly is dominated by cor- top down—and those at the top are years, including programs on such
and for asking Sen. Bob Kerrey if sion of the network’s troubles. porate interests, and local Pacifica hardly cut from traditional hot-button issues as sweatshops,
he thought it appropriate to set up Ironically, the rule makes Pacifica advisory boards and listeners. The Pacifica cloth. Board chair Acosta police brutality, prison growth and
a Vietnam War crimes tribunal. virtually the only medium to national board insists that the five is a certified public accountant in corporate globalization.
Indeed, Pacifica has become so ignore those woes, now plastered local stations are captives of in- Houston who reportedly has sup- The next battle appears to be
un-pacific that Rep. Major Owens across the mainstream and pro- grown vested interests, that their ported selling the Pacifica station shaping up in New York for July 1,
held a Capitol Hill forum on the gressive press. Even the executive programming is amateurish, tired in Berkeley or in New York. Board when a special meeting of the
network after a WBAI show on board of the International Labor and doctrinaire and that the net- member John Murdock is an attor- national board will nominate mem-
which he was being interviewed Communications Association (of work’s assets aren’t being fully ney with Epstein, Becker & bers for election to the board.
Green, a nationwide law firm that Meanwhile, a campaign similar to
advertises its expertise in helping the one that led to Palmer’s resigna-
Some readers shouldn’t be crossed employers maintain “a union-free
tion has been launched against vice-
chair Ken Ford, who works for the
Former board treasurer National Association of Home-
hen columnist Jim Dempsey wrote of a was going back to straight reporting.
convention “of men who dress exclusive- Whitin “basically called the paper’s writing Micheal Palmer, who resigned in builders, a lobbying group that
ly in black, not unlike pale-faced kids coach a lousy writer,” fumed Kathy Shaw, chair of mid-May after being targeted by favors deregulation at the expense
who call themselves Goths, and whose hero is a con- the Worcester unit of the Providence Newspaper Pacifica’s grassroots resistance, is of environmental protection.
victed criminal who received the death penalty,” he Guild, which took up the issue on behalf of a vice president of CB Richard A listener’s lawsuit seeking to
could have been referring to the motorcyclists who Dempsey. Ellis, the nation’s largest commer- remove the board also is lurching
were coming to town. Unlike similar tales, however, this one has a cial real estate services company; forward, having traversed the arc
He wasn’t. He was writing about a simultaneous reasonably happy ending. Four weeks after the
its web site encourages clients to from a petition to the California
convention of priests. offending column first appeared, a second Whitin
note defended his apology on behalf of the newspa- “look south of the U.S. border” to attorney general to federal court
So perhaps it’s not surprising that some of the
more conservative Roman Catholics in Worcester, per—but apologized for coming across as critical exploit cheap labor. Board mem- and back to state court. And many
Mass. let Telegram & Gazette editor Harry Whitin of Dempsey and his writing style. “That was not ber Bertram Lee, Sr. is a financier affiliate stations that used to carry
know what they thought about such irreverent my intent,” he noted. “Had it been, I should have specializing in media buyouts and Pacifica programming have
satire. What was surprising was Whitin’s response: handled that privately.” supports corporate underwiting of switched to Free Speech Radio
without even talking to Dempsey, he fired off a The note topped Dempsey’s resurrected col- Pacifica because “corporate dona- News, produced by a band of for-
public apology that said the column “came across umn, which began: “So a priest and a motorcyclist tions don’t bring with them any mer Pacifica reporters who struck
as mean-spirited, anti-Catholic and crude.” A few walk into this bar. . . control of any kind.” last year over censorship issues.
days later, Dempsey quit the column and said he “Just kidding, folks.” Other corporate links also per- Sometimes there’s a glimmer of
vade the board, so it’s unremark- light even in the darkest shadows.
64-year-old TNG local votes to retire charter
y a virtually unanimous vote (51 to approving the merger, SCMG members current Guild members and bargaining merger, however, is neither pragmatic nor
1), members of the 64-year-old voted to accept the larger local’s bylaws, units, upholds their journalistic indepen- philosophical but emotional: retiring the
Southern California Media Guild although the unit will remain part of the dence and maintains the integrity of the local’s charter after more than 60 years has
have approved a merger with CWA Local Guild sector within CWA. frozen Press-Telegram pension plan, which saddened some members, who have respond-
9400, which has more than 10,000 mem- Leaders of the Guild local, historically is being converted into an annuity or rolled ed by assembling a “farewell” book of essays
bers. Mail-in ballots were counted June 11 known as the Los Angeles Newspaper into another plan. and remembrances. Contributions to the
in Long Beach, Cal. Guild, said they approved the agreement Perhaps most critically, from many book are being solicited from current and
Ratification of the merger by CWA’s because “it gives media workers incredibly Guild members’ perspective, the agreement former members, and may be sent to:
executive board is expected at the July con- more strength at the bargaining table and acknowledges concerns about Local 9400’s Southern California Media Guild, attention
vention in Minneapolis, at which time the holds the promise of organizing the rest of high political and social profile and recog- Gary North, P.O. Box 769, Long Beach CA
Guild charter will be retired. Completion of the Southland—and even other parts of the nizes that Guild members may have to 90801; or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
the merger may be delayed until September, state, as 9400 is a statewide local.” remain disengaged from such activities for For more information, call the local
however, to allow time for clearing up At the same time, they added, the merger journalistic reasons. office at 562-432-3888 or Gary North at
paperwork and other logistical details. In safeguards continuity of representation for One of the biggest drawbacks to the 800-585-9368.
Official publication of
Reporter DAYBOOK FROM THE MORGUE
The Newspaper Guild-CWA (AFL-CIO, CLC)
501 Third St., NW, Suite 250
Washington, D.C. 20001-2797
Telephone: (202) 434-7177 FAX: (202) 434-1472 Nat’l Assoc. Hispanic J’lists, Fifty years ago this month:
June 20-23, Phoenix Executive Vice President Sam Eubanks, completing his tenth year as
Volume 68, Number 6 JUNE 15, 2001 the Guild’s full-time administrator, announces he won’t seek reelection so
President: LINDA K. FOLEY
Pride at Work Convention, he can devote himself full-time to promoting a national daily labor news-
Secretary-Treasurer: BERNIE LUNZER June 21-24, Everett, WA paper. . . . The Guild petitions the Wage Stabilization Board to eliminate
International Chairperson: CAROL D. ROTHMAN wage controls in the newspaper and publishing industries, which are
Director, TNG Canada: ARNOLD AMBER
TNG Sector Conference,
exempt from price controls. . . . After six-and-a-half years as editor of The
July 5-7, Millennium Hotel,
At-Large Vice Presidents: Editor: Andy Zipser International Representatives: Guild Reporter—at that point a record—Wilbur Bade says he’ll resign to
Percy Hatfield Michael R. Burrell, Minneapolis
Larry D. Hatfield
Darren Carroll, Linda Cearley,
become executive secretary of Twin Cities Local 2. . . . The St. Louis Star
Regional Vice Presidents: Marian V. Needham
Leo J. Ducharme, Annual CWA Convention, Times is closed, despite being profitable, throwing 500 out of work.
Region 1—Lesley Phillips
Executive Secretary, Jim Schaufenbil, Jay Schmitz July 9-10, Minneapolis Twenty-five years ago this month:
Region 2—Connie Knox
Region 3—Beverlyann Morris
Administrative Staff: Convention Center The Guild launches its first strike against Time Inc., following collapse
Deborah W. Thomas
Region 4—Russ Cain Scott Bush,
Region 5—Peter Szekely Director of Research, Gwendolyn Doggett, Asian-American Journalists, of bargaining, reaching a settlement 20 days later. . . . The newspaper
Region 6—Jack Norman Information & Technology: Dominique Edmondson, industry reports higher profits for fiscal 1975, with profit margins aver-
Canada East—John Barker Larkie Gildersleeve Malinka Franklin, Tina Harrison
Aug. 1-4, San Francisco
Canada West—Scott Edmonds aging 8.7%—nearly twice the 4.6% average for U.S. manufacturing as a
Human Rights Director: TNG Canada
Director of Field Operations, Anna M. Padia Representatives:
Nat’l Assoc. Black Journalists, whole; Knight Ridder’s profit margin is 5.5%. . . . Don Bolles, investiga-
David Esposti, David Wilson, Aug. 22-26, Orlando tive reporter for the Arizona Republic, is murdered by a car bomb.
Eric D. Geist Dan Zeidler
Bruce R. Nelson
Administrative Assistant: Administrative Staff: Nat’l Lesbian and Gay J’lists, Ten years ago this month:
Kathleen Mulvey Marjoline Botsford, Sept. 6-9, Dallas
The Dayton Guild, frustrated by 19 months of fruitless bargaining,
launches a full-scale boycott of the Dayton Daily News. . . . Ruling in a
(Articles may be reproduced freely in any non-profit publication, provided source is credited.) CLUW Biennial Convention,
case at Gannett’s Democrat & Chronicle in Rochester, NY, an arbitrator
Oct. 4-7, Las Vegas
LIED P INTING
TRADES LABEL COUNCIL
declares that “it is certainly not misconduct for an employee to disagree
TNG Canada Rep. Council, with an employer.” . . . Wire Service Guild members at financially ailing
Printed by Mount Vernon Printing Co.
Oct. 26-28, Halifax UPI accept reduced wages for the third time in six months.