Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Challenges for employees at LAT and WSJ are the same, but with one very big difference

The following is from the latest edition of "Media Matters", the members' newsletter of the union representing Dow Jones journalists:

The challenges we face at Dow Jones, whether it's the fight for a quality contract or the battle against a Rupert Murdoch buyout, are well-known — as are the efforts IAPE [The Newspaper Guild-CWA Local 1096] is making to meet those challenges. But employees at the Los Angeles Times are going through seismic changes without a union.

However, there are people at the Times that believe the time is right for The Newspaper Guild. And you can help by contacting people you know who work for the Times and telling them the benefits of having an organization like IAPE to represent employees against what management thinks are the best for employees.

If you were working for the Los Angeles Times today, you would know that it is being converted to an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) — which gives no real voice to employees; you would have seen a number of your co-workers take a buyout, either by choice or with a push from the company; and a company that behaves as if it envisions taking a great and respected national paper and turning it into a regional paper.

In this age of downsizing newsrooms and increasing work loads, there is concern about how a union can help. We have a sense of what it would be like without a union just by the positions Dow Jones takes at the bargaining table. If The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and The Washington Post were not unionized, our jobs and benefits would be a lot less appealing. A union at the Los Angeles Times would be a benefit to [us], too.

Prospective members at the Times need to understand why joining the Guild is better for their life and their family — and why a union composed and led by journalists is better for their newspaper.
(end of post)

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