Deal With the Devil

14 Dec

{Cleveland Plain Dealer union members ratify new agreement, by Julie Moos on Poynter.org, Dec. 11, 2012}

IN THE WAKE of owners of the Cleveland Plain Dealer announcing plans to cut 58 journalists — one-third of the newsroom — in 2013, Guild members approved a new six-year contract Dec. 11.

That contract provides for 8 percent wage increases for workers remaining after the layoffs, partially offsetting the 12 percent pay cut they agreed to in 2009.

The contract allows the company to lay off five people in 2014, but protects workers from layoffs for the rest of the contract’s term.

The Guild also agreed to let non-Guild workers be hired for the Plain Dealer’s website, cleveland.com.

In the long-run, this gives Advance greater latitude to hire less experienced journalists for less pay with different skills for its website, and then use that material in its print product. The staff cuts save money, not reduced print days, according to an analysis done by Rick Edmonds.

Harlan Spector, chairman of the Plain Dealer’s unit of the Northeast Ohio Newspaper Guild, said,

“A big part of that is we’ve given them some language that could, over the years, really diminish our numbers. It gives them the ability to put cheap content in the paper.”

Spector calls the new agreement “a bitter pill but it beats the alternative.” That alternative was the company’s announcement that without the new agreement, it would cut half the staff next year.

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One Response to “Deal With the Devil”

  1. none December 14, 2012 at 10:05 AM #

    a never ending fiasco

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