Saturday, July 12, 2008

What's in your best interest?

Zell has a personal interest in making sure the debt payments are met: Last year, he paid a mere $315 million for Tribune, then valued at $8 billion — $225 million of which was a loan that has to be repaid (with interest) at $250,000 per quarter – to him. Tribune Two-Step suggests that Zell may be making the cuts "because he needs to trim down expenses to ensure he can make payments ... to himself." We think that's a bit of a stretch, given that Zell is a gazillionaire and a late $250,000 check isn't going to change his lifestyle one bit.

But Tribune Two-Step makes this valid point: his $90m payment for the company gave Zell all the power, and the other owners whose retirement funds (and careers) are tied up in the company have no power. Zilch. Nada. No voice, either. 

Aren't we, the peons onto whom Sam strapped billions of dollars in debt, the real owners of the company? Why, then, do we have no say in any of the decisions being made on our behalf? Why, then, do we allow Sam Zell to keep telling everyone he "bought" the company when the reality is he stole it? Why, then, are we sitting back while he takes it apart, piece by piece, and prepares to sell it for scrap? And, most important, what can we do to change the course Same [sic] has set?
Why not, then, get together and organize yourselves. Even if you don't think you want to form a union per se, you share a community of interest that all Tribune employees can rally behind: your craft and your jobs. Leave inaction and paralysis behind — fear will quickly follow — and put together an employee coalition, invite concerned citizens and community organizations (they're out there) who will add their voices to yours and then, make your stand. Our industry has been in a race to the bottom for a decade and this is no time to sit back and do nothing. 

What is in your best interest? You can take action. You can stand together. Start with a few people from each paper, share a few emails, set up a conference call, brainstorm ideas, get a committee formed and set a plan of action. It will be worth your investment of time and effort. We can help.

No comments: