Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Possible job cuts a veiled threat to Dow Jones workers

Neither DJ execs nor Murdoch want anything to ruin his acquisition of Dow Jones — most certainly not a DJ newsroom staff united in its effort to find an alternative buyer.

The story in yesterday's NY Times reported "senior editors" and "a person close to Dow Jones management" had cautioned that jobs could be lost if the Murdoch bid for Dow Jones doesn't go through. That seemed to us like shaking a stick before offering a limp carrot: later in the story those same persons added "Some jobs might be eliminated even if the deal goes through ... though Mr. Murdoch has signaled that he would increase the staff over all."

Wait a minute. What's the real message here and who wanted it delivered?

DJ workers aren't naive. They've survived several rounds of staff reductions and they know full well that a Murdoch takeover could be followed with more cuts. Even without a sale, they know layoffs could happen. Tribune workers just endured a massive staff purge and there's speculation more staff cuts are planned sometime in advance of a sale that won't be finalized until the end of the year.

The only people making out on these deals are those at the top who have very powerful financial incentives to favor the sales and will do what ever it takes to make them happen.

Is it any wonder then that union employees armed with their collective power seek a worker-friendly buyer that is committed to the continued quality and integrity of Dow Jones and the future prosperity and security of the people who do the work?

*Note: Though this blog's primary focus is the Tribune Company, we believe news of the Dow Jones sale is relevant because it's unionized employees — in attempting to affect the outcome of the sale — exemplify the power of collective action.

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