Page 2 and the Newspaper Guild’s response memo after the jump…
PW: Layoffs Coming At Inquirer And Daily News?
Newspaper Guild Memo:
“Work With Us”
October 19, 2006
That was the plea new Philadelphia Newspapers CEO Brian Tierney made to union leaders today.
With an October 31st contract deadline bearing down, Tierney, accompanied by an entourage of labor relations executives and consultants, visited Teamsters Local 628\’s Union Hall to paint a dire picture of the newspaper industry and an even bleaker one for the Inquirer and Daily News.
No longer will his initial request for $20 million in labor concessions be enough, he said.
“Even if I get $20 million, there will have to be some layoffs,” Tierney told a gathering of a couple dozen union leaders from the Council of Newspaper Unions and the Newspaper Guild. “To the extent we don’t get $20 million, it will be even more.”
While citing a “fundamental shift” that is creating revenue shortfalls in unanticipated proportions at newspapers throughout the country, Tierney blamed the financial conditions at Philadelphia Newspapers largely on Guild members. He could not provide specifics, just as the Company has failed to do at the bargaining table the past two months.
Tierney said he will make his case to employees in a letter that will be distributed Friday.
Tierney’s escort included former PNI publisher Bob Hall, former labor relations exec Bill Sabatino and current PN labor execs Rob Barron and Astrid Garcia.
Tierney said he was willing to open the Company’s books to a union-selected accountant on a confidential basis to verify that “What I’m telling you is swear-to-God the truth.”
He said he wants our members to work under the same employee policies as Channel 6 and Comcast. At the bargaining table, management has been unwilling to define the “flexibility” it wants. Yesterday Tierney also could not give specific examples of changes he desires. But he promised to give the Guild copies of what he called “the playbooks” of these rival non-union companies.
Meanwhile, the Guild bargaining committee returns to the table Friday still waiting for the company to come prepared to do what Tierney is urging: Work with Us.
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