Philly’s Guild Asks Members to Vote ‘Yes’ on Contract — But ‘Be Angry About It’

By: E&P Staff

When the Newspaper Guild finally struck a deal with management of the two Philadelphia dailies, The Inquirer and The Daily News, earlier this week, it called the proposed terms “disappointing.” Now, a vote by members approaches on Monday, and that reaction has not yet cooled.

Here is the message sent to members today from Diane Mastrull,
Bargaining Committee chair. “It is a contract full of pain and insult,” she admits. She charges that the new local investors in the two papers should be “ashamed.”

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Dear Guild Members,

We the Bargaining Committee are asking you to vote YES for the tentative contract agreement.

What we will never ask of you is to not be angry about it.

Be angry. We are. But vote YES.

It is a contract full of pain and insult. It is a contract that requires sacrifice and trust.

It is a contract that Brian Tierney and the local investors should be ashamed of.

As one spirit-crushing proposal after another came across the table from our owners, we seethed.

And then we processed our anger and pledged to redirect it as constructive energy. The end result is the contract you?re being asked to support ? one that is FAR better than the company wanted you to have.

Had we let our anger consume us, no good would have come of it. DO NOT let your anger drive your decision. DO NOT reject this tentative contract. If you do, you will see the worst of the company?s proposals replace those we have now ? the ones the Bargaining Committee worked for months to secure.

We were insulted and angry, but we worked through that anger and focused on getting the best we could for you.

So spend the next few days working through your anger and focusing on the truth here: We need to take control of these newspapers through our work. We can be the true owners of these papers.

If we let our anger consume us, we will destroy the papers, destroy jobs and destroy families.

To Brian Tierney and his wealthy friends, it will be a mere tax write-off. They?ll move on, chalk it up as a bad investment and lick their wounds on their yachts in the Caribbean.

We are professionals first and foremost. We?ve been through a great deal together over the last few years. With each insulting development, with each new direction from management, we have endured. We have carried on with professionalism that our readers and advertisers have come to depend on.

We need to do that now more than ever. We are the heart and soul of the Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News.

In the closing minutes of the contract negotiations, I told company negotiators to deliver this message to Brian Tierney: ?This contract is something no amount of Tastykakes, soft pretzels or commemorative coins will make up for. On our ledger, he finds himself in the negative category when it comes to goodwill.?

With this contract, we are giving him the opportunity he asked for to get these papers back on track. This contract does not, however, require us to give up our dedication, our pride and our resolve.
And that, friends, is our leverage going forward.

In solidarity and hope,
Diane Mastrull
Bargaining Committee Chair and PNI Unit Chair

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