Category Archives: General

We asked for respect. Here’s what we got instead.

On Monday, the Guild’s bargaining committee met with Gannett lawyers for another round of negotiations, two weeks after the last round and more than seven months since we’ve had a contract.

And once again we’ve walked away without even the hint of a fair offer on health care or wages.

The issue? Gannett wants to move Guild members off of our health care plan onto theirs. A move that we have calculated could cost members anywhere from a few hundred dollars to $1,700 per year.

We’ve maintained all along that any discussion about the possibility of moving to a Gannett plan must include mitigation of these effects. We even provided them with cost data so they could do their own analysis.

Yet, when we met on Monday, Gannett’s lawyer once again proposed that we move onto their health care plan without committing to any mitigation payments in return.

Why should Guild members agree to what amounts to a pay cut? Why, when at the same time, Gannett withholds merit raises in order to force us into a contract?

Last month, we delivered a letter to our newsroom management asking that Gannett come to the table and treat its award-winning, dedicated journalists and workers with basic respect.

It is clear to us now that our request has been ignored.

We continue to ask our community to call on Gannett to give us a fair contract. Send your messages directly to ronnie.ramos@indystar.com or tweet them to @Gannett or @RonnieRamos.

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Mayor Joe Hogsett: Indianapolis would be a ‘lesser’ place without local journalism

Editor’s note: The Indianapolis Star Newspaper Guild is in contract negotiations with Gannett. We’ve asked our community to submit letters of support as we try to reach a fair deal. You can read about Gannett’s attempts to downgrade our health care, and their decision to withhold merit raises while we are in negotiations.

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Local journalists are there to celebrate community milestones and capture pivotal moments.

They lead conversations and encourage self-reflection. Their work educates and informs, connecting residents to valuable resources and opportunities.

Without local journalism, many stories would go untold. And without the talented men and women who capture and report on life in our city, our community would be a lesser place for those who call it home.

Joe Hogsett
Mayor of Indianapolis

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Noblesville deputy mayor to Gannett: Work in good faith with members of the Guild

Editor’s note: The Indianapolis Star Newspaper Guild is in contract negotiations with Gannett. We’ve asked our community to submit letters of support as we try to reach a fair deal. You can read about Gannett’s attempts to downgrade our health care, and their decision to withhold merit raises while we are in negotiations.

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Dear Gannett:

I’m writing this letter in support of the highly talented people from the Indianapolis News Guild who produce the Indianapolis Star each and every day. Yes, people. I know their names. I read their bylines before I dive into each article. I know a few of them personally because they live in our community and our professional lives have at times crossed paths. However, most I’ve never met in person. Still, I know them by the quality of their work, and it’s this quality that defines the Indianapolis Star.

As the deputy mayor for a medium-sized city in Central Indiana, I depend on the Indianapolis Star to help deliver information to residents of my community, and to share our success stories with readers both near and far. I want people to read the truth about what’s happening here and the good work that’s taking place. But, yes, not every story is a positive one. I value the accountability that solid journalism demands of our public officials and community leaders, for the facts behind the stories that take hours to uncover, write and report on in a balanced manner – not to mention the additional effort required of them to garner online clicks and social media shares.

I recently became aware of the contract negotiations between Gannett and members of the Indianapolis News Guild after the Star’s investigation into the allegations surrounding a government official. I stand with IndyStar journalists because the work they perform serves a vital role as watchdog within our democracy that cannot be fully served by bloggers, advertisers and my friends on Facebook and Twitter. It’s thanks to a free press and the hard work of Star staff that local citizens can be better informed about such issues.

My concern is what effect the new contract will have on the quality of the Indianapolis Star when we lose the very people readers like me have come to admire and trust. By refusing merit pay raises and reducing contributions to some employees’ health care over others within Gannett, the professionals whose work we know and respect will start to disappear from the pages of the Indianapolis Star.

Please work in good faith with members of the Guild so a fair contract can be achieved, and so the vital work of IndyStar journalists with their years and in some cases decades of experience can continue.

Thank you very much.

Sincerely,
Steve Cooke
Deputy Mayor
City of Noblesville

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Letter: Indiana AFL-CIO expresses support for IndyStar workers

We at the Indiana AFL-CIO believe that a strong labor movement is essential for an equitable society. In today’s economy, the rich keep getting richer. We believe that it is the workers who generate that wealth who should reap the benefits.

Which is why we are declaring our support for the workers of The Indianapolis Star, represented by the Indianapolis Newspaper Guild, CWA 34070.

As an organization, we represent nearly 300,000 hardworking Hoosiers across several industries: steelworkers, teachers, electricians, grocery store employees, plumbers, construction workers, and many more. We know the value of solidarity. We know what we can achieve when we stand united.

We were dismayed to hear that the Star’s parent company, Gannett, has been withholding pay raises from their hardworking employees. We were likewise disappointed to hear that Gannett is trying to downgrade the union’s health care options.

We call on Gannett to stop these shameless tactics and to enter into a fair and just contract with IndyStar workers.

Only then will the company have demonstrated its commitment to its readers and customers.

Sincerely,
Brett Voorhies
President

Read more about our fight:

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Local journalism needs local journalists: Tell Gannett why you support IndyStar journalists

Last week, IndyStar journalists resumed negotiations with Gannett. We asked them to come to the table with a fair deal. (You can read more about our fight here and here.)

We are not discouraged, but we did not reach an agreement. Negotiations continue in early August.

We recently asked you to share the moments that IndyStar journalism moved you. Many of you mentioned our watershed investigation of child sex abuse at USA Gymnastics. You mentioned our reporting of the recent allegations of sexual misconduct by Indiana’s attorney general, our series on the notorious, violent crew led by Richard Grundy III, and our response to the school shooting in Noblesville.

More broadly, you told us how our arts and entertainment coverage helps you navigate the culture of Indianapolis, how you’ve been impacted by our visual journalists, and how our columnists continue to find ways to move you.

But there’s one thing almost everyone agreed on. Here it is, in your words:

Supporting local journalists is critically important. National news definitely has its place, but there are always stories that don’t apply to most of the country and have a hyper-local target audience. Local news allows people to get news about the place where they live.

Local journalists are a crucial part of any community. They deliver information about our city, schools, twin, environment, politicians and government. We stay informed, thanks to them, which allows us to make good decisions. And most importantly, they hold leaders accountable and uncover truths.

We need local journalists to keep us informed about local events and challenges. People who live here trust others that live here.

Local journalists know this community, what’s happening here, and what’s important to people here. Community pride (and subscriptions) come from local coverage. National and international news is available online from a number of sources. The local paper should be more than a regurgitation of news people have already heard.

Because local journalists are involved in the community you live in. They see your world. They see your problems. Your passions. They tell you the truth about what is happening to you and why. They tell you how you can make a difference.

Local journalism ensures the proper documentation of the activities of local and state governments, which has a profound and direct impact on the citizens therein. Local journalism ensures that our stories, the residents, are told, and are given a voice via journalism.

As we said in a letter delivered to IndyStar management last week: We live here. We don’t fly in every so often, like Gannett’s lawyers do. We have a vested interest in Indianapolis because this is our community, too.

Our negotiations with Gannett resume in early August. Your continued support means so much to us, and helps show our corporate owners that we deserve a fair deal and that we have the support of our community.

We need your help.

So please, consider changing your profile photos to our support image (found here), or share your own reasons why you #SupportIndyJournalists on Twitter or via this survey: https://goo.gl/forms/4nPkdYu2wkSSLTPy2. Better yet, tell our executive director Ronnie Ramos why you support us. Email him (ronnie.ramos@indystar.com) or Tweet him (@RonnieRamos), our company account (@indystar) and our corporate owners (@Gannett).

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Here’s what you need to know about last week’s negotiations

For the last few weeks, we’ve been asking you to support us as we prepared to return to the bargaining table with Gannett last week.

If you’re unfamiliar with our fight, you can read about how Gannett is paying less for Guild members’ health care than it is for other employees, or how the company is withholding merit raises to try and force us into signing a contract.

Here’s what you need to know about last week.

We did not reach an agreement. While last week’s meeting did not discourage us, we also were not able to reach an agreement.

We’ll be back at the table in early August. Gannett’s lawyers will return to Indianapolis so that we can once again attempt to find a resolution.

We still need your support. Dozens of IndyStar readers have shown their support. We can’t thank you enough, but we still need your voices.

Here’s how you can help:

  • Change your profile picture. 
  • Tell Gannett why they should give us a fair contract. You can tweet them @Gannett, or email our executive editor Ronnie Ramos (ronnie.ramos@indystar.com) to tell him why we deserve a fair deal. You can also tweet him @RonnieRamos and our company’s account @indystar.
  • While you’re at it, tell us what IndyStar means to you. Check out this handy survey.

And as always, thank you for your continued support. It means the world to us.

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We want to be treated with basic respect: An open letter to Gannett.

HeadsNoCopy

Yesterday, members of the Indianapolis News Guild delivered the following letter to Ronnie Ramos, the Star’s executive editor, and Ginger Rough, senior news director. It was written in the spirit of finding common ground and respect at the negotiating table later this week.

Dear Ronnie Ramos and Ginger Rough:

You have a hard-working, talented stable of journalists at The Indianapolis Star.

It’s evident during awards season, when we collect piles of hardware from APME, SPJ, IRE and APSE.

It’s noted by Star and corporate management, who routinely laud us for meeting and surpassing audience goals or hand us the Gannett CEO special citation.

It’s reinforced in the buzz of the newsroom, when we launch newsletters and champion search-engine optimization; when we host podcasts and appear on broadcasts; when we lead nuanced discussions in our Facebook groups; when we hit the streets to manage Best Things; when our work’s findings are echoed in the halls of the City-County Building, Indiana Statehouse and Congress.

And it’s most obvious in times of uncertainty and pain: When parents stay glued to their phones as we swiftly deliver accurate and timely updates about a school shooting or when we shine a light on secret statehouse investigations.

We have done this — all of this — while fiercely trudging through the external forces that threaten our livelihoods: a dwindling staff, unpredictable algorithms, evolving reader behavior, changing expectations, attacks on journalism. And attacks on journalists.

For the last six months, we’ve done all this while knowing that Gannett is contributing less to our health care than it does for non-guild members. While knowing that rather than reward our hard work, our company is bullying us by withholding merit pay raises as a bargaining chip.

It doesn’t have to be this way. We don’t want it to be this way. And we don’t think you, Ronnie or Ginger, want it to be this way.

None of us fly into Indianapolis every year or two.

We live here. Our homes can be found from Noblesville to Greenwood, in Irvington and the Old Northside. Our children walk the school hallways here. We join our friends by volunteering at nonprofits. We lock arms with our neighbors as we seek to build this community. We carry The Star’s values as we embed ourselves within our neighborhoods.

So please understand: We want to be treated with basic respect. Your own celebration of our work should be proof enough that we deserve this. And if that’s not enough, scroll through Facebook or Twitter to see what our community thinks.

Don’t force an unnecessary fight on merit raises. Don’t downgrade our health care. Instead, join us in quickly agreeing to a contract that is fair and just.

Reward and celebrate the hard-working, talented journalists inside your newsroom.

Then let’s get back to serving our community together.

Sincerely,

Members of the Indianapolis Newspaper Guild, CWA 34070

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