By: George Garneau
N.Y. Post runs help-wanted ads after busting Guild; union members can reapply for their old jobs sp.
AFTER BREAKING THE Newspaper Guild local, and throwing 280 people out of work, in the process of acquiring the New York Post from bankruptcy, News Corp. Ltd. chairman Rupert Murdoch is hiring.
In a help-wanted display ad in the Newark Star-Ledger, the Post was trying to attract reporters, editors, photographers, advertising sales people and clerks with the promise of “Exciting Opportunities At The Revitalized New York Post.”
Post executives have not said how many of the former Guild-represented workers in news, advertising and business operations would be rehired after their strike was broken by management employees and members of craft unions. The union expected that as many as 200 of the workers that it represents would be replaced.
Tom Pennacchio, secretary-treasurer of the Guild local, said the union does not know how many Guild-represented workers were rehired.
Pennacchio said the union’s request for a head count was refused. The union legally would remain the bargaining agent if at least half of its former members are rehired. About 20 members have quit the union, he said.
One reporter who was rehired, Bill Hoffmann, said eight reporters were rehired from what was a staff of about 50. He said the newsroom, currently about half its former size, was working hard, with many aggressive young reporters on the job and others being interviewed.
“Everybody makes their own deal,” he said, referring to pay and benefits, which remained about the same for him.
Pat Smith, a spokesman with an outside public relations firm, declined to give details of the staffing process but said News Corp. planned to expand the news staff from earlier levels.
Pennacchio said not only did Murdoch throw Guild workers out on the street without severance pay, their health insurance is due to run out in late November.
“It’s one of the worst things any publisher has done,” he said, adding that the federal government “should be ashamed of itself” because the Federal Communications Commission waived its cross-ownership rule to allow Murdoch to reacquire the Post while he owns WYNY-TV, New York.
Smith said the Post had no obligation to the Guild.
Murdoch told News Corp. shareholders in Adelaide, Australia, in October that he expected the Post to lose $5 million to $10 million a year, “but it is a paper of great influence and is a very strong base for the company in what is the media capital of the world.”