Monday, August 4, 2008

Ramping up the pressure

Members of the Southern California Media Guild/CWA Local 9400 accelerated community outreach efforts Saturday (Aug. 2) and won some key support from a major Long Beach auto dealership.

Within a few minutes of setting up for leafleting and an informational picket at the big Press-Telegram advertiser, the vice president of sales approached us, giving us an opportunity to explain that the P-T staff has been slashed, the paper reduced in size, readership numbers are shrinking and our employer is pressing for contract language that would give it the right to subcontract any and all of our work. The manager said he shared our concerns since he also believes that local coverage by locally-based veteran journalists is important to the readers — his customers. Local readership is why he advertises in the P-T instead of the Los Angeles Times as the previous owner had done.

In an email sent to LANG executives shortly after we left for another location, he wrote in part: “I am writing you regarding the outsourcing of newsroom jobs… I hope you can resolve this issue soon as I will have to rethink my advertising with your paper...”

The Guild knows we need our advertisers. The Guild knows we need to build our readership base. But the Guild also knows that we can't agree to a contract provision that will allow our employer to outsource our work and fire the few of us that are left.

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