Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Powerless against a corporate agenda?

So what if — after giving careful consideration to that voluntary buyout package the company has offered — you decide that you're just not in a secure enough financial position to take the few bucks and sally forth into an unknown future (the kids, the mortgage, health insurance...) so you figure you'd better stick it out (the kids, the mortgage, health insurance...) and take the chance that maybe the future with Tribune will be good for your career and better for your bank account.

If you've made the decision to stay — and provided Tribune doesn't lay you off — there's something you might want to consider: You may have all sorts of great suggestions for improving the product and many exciting and innovative ideas to increase the company's prosperity  — but will Tribune listen? And just how will your being able to "Talk to Sam" really make your life better? What can you do to improve your working life? Or that of your coworkers? As an employee-owner, does your voice even matter?

Having a voice at his workplace matters to Bay Area reporter Josh Richman. The MediaNews empire — like the Tribune empire— is slashing jobs in its effort to improve its bottom line. The bloodletting in the Bay Area comes amidst a powered-up newsroom organizing drive. So in an update to newspaper workers throughout the region — from Walnut Creek to San Francisco to San Jose — Josh writes:

Certainly this week’s news of buyout offers and impending layoffs has put us all in a grim state of mind, and rightly so: We’re journalism professionals who take our work and our careers very seriously, and the thought of giving it away for up to half a year’s pay (or having it taken away for half that) doesn’t sit well with anyone. .... But we have to see the bigger picture here. ... Times are tough all around .... Having a voice, a seat at the table, as this company and our industry decide what they will be for the years and decades to come can save jobs and preserve the journalistic quality for which we all strive. Now more than ever, we should be trying to insinuate ourselves into the dialogue rather than just sitting here with no choice but to take it as the company dishes it out. The company would have you believe your individual voices are stronger, but why not retain your own voice while adding yours to a unified, union voice the company is legally required to hear?
Tribune workers from Hartford to LA wisely ask what The Guild can do for them — "Show us where you've had success" — and we are happy to describe and explain. Give us the forum and we'll help you help yourselves. In the meantime, refer back to our FAQ, then add us to your browser's Favorites.

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