Guild Still Standing Tall, Despite Loss p.20

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By: Randy Dotinga The Newspaper Guild's surprising rejection from the San Diego Union-Tribune was a major defeat that came not at the hands of a new owner or after a lengthy strike; union members themselves voted out their collective bargaining representative.
But the Newspaper Guild, now a unit of the Communication Workers of America, still represents workers at 41 of the nation's 100 largest newspapers, still has more than 30,000 members, and still plays a role in cities from Maine to Hawaii. While rejected at Copley Newspapers' flagship, the Guild still represents workers at three Copley papers in Illinois.
Linda Foley, president of the Newspaper Guild-CWA, said she was unaware of decertification efforts at other Guild newspapers. To call a decertification vote, at least 30% of the workers in a collective bargaining unit must sign petitions.
"This was a very difficult one for us," Foley said. "What's amazing to me is the campaign the company put on, the promises they made about what they would get if they threw out their union. Bribery is what comes to mind."
Bobbie Espinosa, head of human resources at the Union-Tribune, responded, "We didn't bribe anybody. We made no promises." Instead, management "took every opportunity we had to answer our employees' questions," she said.
Foley said the Union-Tribune's "stonewalling" strategy is unlikely to spread. "Most newspaper employers will not disgrace themselves in the way this employer has," she said.
Most newspapers have better relationships with their unions, she said, and such relationships "will continue to work because it's in everybody's interest."
Kendrick Noble of Noble Consultants in Port Aransas, Texas, said newspapers will likely continue dealing with their Guild units, which are "basically tolerated" by newspaper managements. "I don't think there will be any repercussions."
The Guild already has been weakened by its inability to shut a newspaper down.
Even in Detroit, where production and distribution unions joined the newsrooms in an especially bitter strike, the papers continued to publish, Noble noted. The Guild is therefore "weaker in terms of trying to impose anything on the company that the company isn't willing to go along with," he said.
?(Editor & Publisher Web Site: http://www.mediainfo. com) [Caption]
?(copyright: Editor & Publisher July 25,1998) [Caption]

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