Dec 20, 2007

Second take

The Newspaper Guild wants editorial employees at the Contra Costa Times to form a union. According to this article, guild members in California generally make less than their competitors, they rarely receive meaningful raises, their reps have done almost nothing to prevent staff cuts (unless they're able to sacrifice reporters in sister newsrooms), their reps seem powerless to prevent job reprisals and the group's claim to fame is convincing reporters at the St. Paul Pioneer Press in Minneapolis to assist the advertising department.

That's some pitch.

I'm well aware of the fact that Singleton has depressed newsroom wages (a starting reporter at the Vacaville Reporter makes between $12 and $13 an hour) and that organizing can provide some benefits. But why form a union to rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic?

If you want to do good journalism and get paid a decent wage for it, get out. Or organize to change the Singleton business model. Otherwise, all your negotiating will only get you a better spot on the assembly line.

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