By: Joe Strupp
After having their pro-union entry in the York, Pa. Halloween Parade rejected, leaders of the Newspaper Guild at the York Daily Record took their case to the Internet on Monday instead.
The result: a YouTube.com video that may well get their message to a far larger audience than those who stood curbside for York’s annual costume event on Sunday.
“We never got it in the parade, so we said we would go and do it anyway,” Guild leader Carrie Biggs-Adams said about the union’s Scooby Doo-themed skit that sought to cast Daily Record owner William Dean Singleton, CEO of MediaNews Group, as a cartoon character villain. “It was shot in downtown York yesterday.”
The skit, which union leaders had hoped to present as part of their entry in the Sunday parade, was a take-off on the Scooby Doo cartoon, dubbed “Scooby Doo vs. the Union Buster.”
But parade organizers weeks ago rejected the idea, contending that it broke the parade rule forbidding controversial or political entries. Biggs-Adams said the union members showed up in costume anyway, roaming the parade route with union leaflets slamming Singleton and MediaNews for failing to negotiate a contract.
The costumed protesters also shot a video of the skit, placing it on YouTube.com today, Biggs-Adams said.
The skit video shows a van decorated like the cartoon’s “Mystery Machine,” with guild leaders dressed like Scooby, Shaggy, and the other characters in the cartoon, who announce they are looking for the dangerous “Union Buster.” When found and unmasked, he is revealed to be Singleton.
His ending line, a la Scooby Doo legend, “I would have gotten away with it if it weren’t for you meddling kids.”
Contacted several weeks ago when the parade dispute first erupted, Singleton declined to comment on the protest or labor talks.
The video protest is the latest in a long-running labor battle at the Daily Record, which has been negotiating with the guild for a new contract for more than a year. Just two weeks ago, the two sides agreed to settle two unfair labor complaints issued against the paper earlier this year by the National Labor Relations Board. Those alleged that the paper had not bargained in good faith, had denied union organizers time off for bargaining, and had unfairly blocked union activities.
While the newspaper admitted no wrongdoing and did not agree to pay any fines, the settlement included a return of staff writer bylines that had been withheld since July, the return of time-off for union negotiators who had been forced to take vacation and personal days to bargain, and a lifting of a ban on wearing clothing with guild-related logos.
The two sides are set to hold their next bargaining sessions on Nov. 13 and 14.
To watch the video, click here.
Related E&P story: Ruh-Roh, Shaggy: Scooby Doo Protest by York, Pa., Guild Rejected