Friday, May 16, 2008

Speaking out on BANG

John Bowman offers his opinion on the BANG union vote at his blog, Spin Ditties.

As a former MediaNews editor, he's well-positioned to give a particular insight into the situation. He believes the re-organizing was purely a stunt to bust the Bay-Area bargaining unit.

As you'll recall, last summer Dean Singleton's company went through all sorts of contortions -- eliminating reporter and editor jobs in strategic places, merging various operations -- all with the goal of being able to decertify the Guild as a bargaining unit for its old ANG properties. And it worked, for a while: The company's paid dailies in the East Bay and on the Peninsula have been, since then, blissfully union free, as was the Contra Costa Times before them.

And of course, that move might just blow up in their face.

At any rate, MediaNews is now staring at the last possible outcome it wanted: a fully unionized Bay Area work force instead of the exact opposite.

If it comes to pass, it couldn't happen to a nicer bunch of guys.

The fact MediaNews engenders that kind of sentiment, even from former editors - a position known for company loyalty - speaks volumes about the morale and corporate culture MediaNews employees are dealing with.


Anonymous said...

Two questions.

1. What is to keep all the Southern California LANG papers from unionizing?

2. Why on earth are we not doing it?

Can you imagine what a unified front LANG employees would have if they were ALL in one big union? No doubt, someone is thinking of galvanizing all the papers, but we need this to go beyond the thinking stage and into the doing stage.

Bring the unions down here and let's all sign up! Let's have a union with some teeth, and not just one union at one paper that gets kicked around all the time like the PT. I'm talking a strong union that will stand up to all this Singleton nonsense and include all the LANG papers.

I can dream, can't I?

Anonymous said...

3rd question.

This was an Idea that was brought up a long time ago but I think that with the new TNG President Bernie Lunzer as president, I have confidence with him in power that the West coast will no longer be ignored.

I hope

Len Cutler said...

That's an excellent question, and although I can't speak for the guild or CWA or anyone else, I'm sure they're considering the idea.

It's kind of funny, in some ways the media unions owe Dean Singleton a debt of gratitude. MediaNews' workplace shenanigans and fiscal buffoonery have illustrated the need for organized labor better than anything else in the last ten years.

Anonymous said...

Amen to that Len.
You can only get raked over the coals so many times and be the lowest common denominator on a bean cruncher's calculator before you have to scream ENOUGH OF THIS MADNESS!

bring on the unions! Let's unite!

Anonymous said...

ORGANIZED LABOR is not a dirty word. Think about it. It's a labor force, organized, united, wanting to be treated in a civil, humane manner. This is not socialism, this is not a crime. Watching the Teamsters dig themselves into a hole time and time again with their irresponsible handling of pension funds soured me on unions long ago. But Dean Singleton and his boys have made me -- and everyone of you working for LANG really should feel the same way if you are concerned with your future -- a BIG FAN OF UNIONS!

The rallying cry at every single LANG newspaper should be WHAT DO WE WANT? UNION! WHEN DO WE WANT IT! NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!