Singleton Shuts Long Beach Plant p.12

By: Robert Neuwirth

Consolidates Press-Telegram production
with the Daily News in Valencia

After repeatedly stating that he had “no plans” to shut his printing plant in Long Beach, Calif., William Dean Singleton has closed the plant and moved Press-Telegram production to the Los Angeles Daily News’ Valencia plant.
Three months ago, when he bought the Daily News, Singleton denied he intended to consolidate printing operations of the two papers. “We have no plans at this point to do that. It’s a pretty good hike from Long Beach to Valencia,” he said then.
But he made the move to the more modern plant at the end of April. The paper reported that 65 full-time staffers and an unspecified number of part-timers lost their jobs. Since taking control of the Long Beach paper last December, Singleton has cut almost 200 staffers ? 40% of the newspaper’s total work force.
In response, the Los Angeles Newspaper Guild has initiated a campaign against Singleton. The union is running a cable-TV ad against the newspaper magnate. And it is urging readers to cancel their subscriptions. In a month of activity, the union says it has collected approximately 600 pledges from subscribers to drop the paper if Singleton refuses union demands.
Guild representative Mike Easterbrook said that labor law requires Singleton to submit these kinds of layoffs and changes in work rules and working conditions to collective bargaining, but that Singleton has a history of ignoring the law.
“He does what he damn well pleases and suffers the consequences later,” Easterbrook said.
The union has asked the National Labor Relations Board to investigate the staffing cuts, said Natalie Shore, P-T unit chair for the Guild.
Ike Massey, president and CEO of Singleton’s Los Angeles Newspaper Group, which encompasses five of Singleton’s MediaNews Group papers, said there was so much excess capacity at the Valencia plant that both papers can be printed simultaneously. Of the long truck ride from Valencia to Long Beach that Singleton referred to, he said the savings of closing one plant “more than made up for” the added transportation costs.
Informed of Singleton’s earlier denial of any plans to close the Long Beach plant, Massey said, “At this company, we make plans very fast.”
“At this company, we make plans very fast.”
?(Editor & Publisher Web Site: http://www.mediainfo.com) [Caption]
?(copyright: Editor & Publisher May 23, 1998) [Caption]

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