IN CONGRESS, JULY 4, 2014
The Unanimous Declaration of the representatives of the Indianapolis Newspaper Guild.
When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for Workers to stand up to the Man, a decent respect to public opinion requires us to declare the causes which impel us to be really ticked off.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men and women deserve a living wage, that they are endowed by their Creator with a need for decent and affordable health care so that they may continue to have a life and pursue Happiness, that to secure these rights they should not be cast off to the ash heap just because they have attained 50 years of age or to prop up a quarterly earnings report.
Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Corporations so established need a little kick in the pants on occasion, especially when they are guilty of a long train of abuses and usurpations.
Such has been the patient sufferance of these workers of Gannett and of StarMedia. The history of the present CEO and the Publisher and of the Corporation is a history of repeated layoffs, of furloughs, of outsourcing and of a 10% pay cut which has never been fully restored, even as upper management has wallowed in bonuses.
To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
That even as the cost of living, the cost of medical care, the costs of putting children through college and most other costs continue to rise, wages for the common worker have been reduced and they have further lost ground to the steady march of inflation.
That as the Government attempted to make health care more affordable, the Corporation exploited the uncertainties of the season to shift even more costs to the Worker, to reduce its own, and to force workers to choose between crippling costs or avoiding necessary medical care for themselves and their children.
That even as the Corporation remains profitable, even as its stock price has increased tenfold, even as executive bonuses and compensation have remained at obscene levels, the Corporation pleads poverty and that there is nothing left to share with the workers who drive its success.
That the Corporation recently promised its CEO a payout of $46-million should she lose her job from a sale of the company, even as the Corporation was telling us, its Workers, that our humble severance program — which for the 100 members of our workforce amounts to a severance one-twentieth of the CEO’s — is too generous and too charitable, and therefore must be cut.
That the tireless Worker has absorbed all these abuses while being required to devote his whole life and his whole being, his Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other personal social media accounts to sell the Corporate wares, to exploit the Worker’s connections to the community for the Corporation’s benefit, to master the technical attributes of every aspect of journalism, from writing to photography to headline writing to web design because so many Workers who used to perform those functions are now gone, to act not only as journalist but also to do a large part of the paper’s marketing too, to decipher the ever-changing and ever-confounding software changes which the Corporation unveils every 60 days in its quest to make work simpler yet which, inevitably, makes it more complicated, to demand and receive the unending flexibility of the Worker while the Corporation shows precious little flexibility of its own.
That the Corporation seems unconcerned that its Workers are too busy — doing the jobs of three people and now also of management — to take their allotted vacation time, that these Workers are suffering more frequent stress-related illnesses and fatigue that must be managed with high-deductible medical care, and in at least one instance a comrade died from a heart-related malady, which surely had nothing to do with a stressful job.
And while many who have endured such neglect do yet persevere out of a love for the craft and a sense of duty to the community, the Corporation seems willfully blind to the fact that its abuses have driven from the profession a steady march of experienced and talented workers, many of whom have taken their skills to our digital competitors or other media companies. The Corporation has welcomed this exodus as a means to further reduce its payroll, a goal that may one day be realized when visitors to our newsroom look around and see only mercenaries of the modern era — an army of temp workers.
Henceforth, to proclaim our dissatisfaction, we Resolve to agitate, decorate, convene, protest, march, align, resist, chant, sing and wear bright and bold colors in a uniform fashion even when such colors are out of season until the Corporation recognizes that its workers are flesh and blood people, that it stops acting like a bully at the table of Negotiations and that it gives us a decent contract.
RESOLVED, this Fourth of July, 2014.
The Indianapolis Newspaper Guild