A Declaration of Resistance

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.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the Indianapolis Newspaper Guild, solemnly publish and declare, that our Workers are, and of Right ought to be, mad as Hell and that we have reached an unfortunate state: We are unwilling to take it anymore.

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

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9 Comments

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9 responses to “A Declaration of Resistance

  1. Gratefully gone

    Anyone who still works for the Indianapolis Star needs to read this again and again until they add ‘leave the company’ to their resolutions. Love of the craft and duty to the community can no longer trump health and happiness. Think about it. It’s only going to get worse. Do you really still love what you do? I thought not.

  2. thenpp1

    Written by someone who failed economics.
    No one DESERVES a living wage. They deserve a chance.
    And some people study harder, work the rope line better, and press the flesh better than others. They rise to the top and maneuver golden parachutes of payment no matter how badly they produce their product. And those people are called actors.
    Yeah, that’s right. You moan people getting bonuses for failing but you forget it is EVERYWHERE. So redirect your tantrum toward the highly paid and yet poorly producing actors and then I’ll notice your whines.
    Until then I’m going back to taking extra classes and getting more certifications because in my last job I only made 85% of my next goal.
    So selectively b*ch and moan about the “Big Bad Corporation” from behind your keyboard. Me and those people you are complaining about got off our rumps, went out the door and got better at our jobs. Better than you’ll ever be.
    Me? I plan on making a million before I croak and I’m almost there.
    This Is America. If you don’t like the way someone is doing something: Start You Own Business and Do It Better Yourself! Show Them How It’s Done!
    Or park yourself at a keyboard and cry about how unfair it is.
    Huh. One course takes effort, the other course takes a keyboard and some sheeple. I wonder if you have the guts to show them how it’s done.
    I guess not. You can reach for another bag of chips but this weekend I am mastering Johnson’s Business Laws For Corporate Restructuring.
    The next job I leave from I hope will pay me three times my salary when I go.
    And if it doesn’t, then the one after that will.

    • DuncanDoggie

      Your post doesn’t make much sense. I guess you must’ve failed English too.

    • Horatio Alger Jr.

      Written by someone who failed reality. You should read “The Meritocracy Myth” by Stephen McNamee and Robert Miller.

  3. mistlethrush1

    Dear Duncan –

    Good luck with getting a great paying job. Log in and tell us how that works out…I am sincerely interested as I am sure many people who are qualified (and often over qualified) to do various jobs yet find themselves unemployed or not getting paid whet they are worth.

    • DuncanDoggie

      If you wanna spend half of your life working on getting what passes for a “great pay,” more power to you.

      As it is, I live comfortably within my means and spend my time actually enjoying my life instead of chasing after whatever it is that those people who chase after that “great pay” want. New car for the hour long commute? A house that they won’t be home to enjoy? That corner office with a window that doesn’t face the building next to it? A retirement fund so they can enjoy what’s left of their life as their body fails them?

      Yeah, have fun with that.

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