sfmediaguy 
Member since May 27, 2009


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Re: “Trib and CC Times Journalists Approve First Contract

I see the union has its stenographers working for it at East Bay Express as well as the Peninsula Press Club.

You left out these items. It was either deliberate or you are a journalist with a remarkable lack of curiosity. Either way, you could have just had the union write your blog and save yourself the time and protect your credibility.

Here's what the real news was in this contract:


1. The union caved in on the issue of open-ended pay cuts, starting as soon as October. In contrast, the San Jose workers obtained a 9 percent limit on their pay cuts. But there could be pay cuts of 10, 20, 30 percent, or pick a number, in the East Bay. This could happen by Oct. 1, 2009. And all that has to happen for management to undertake pay cuts to the amount they wish is to re-open the contract and not reach an agreement by 14 days later.

Don't believe me? Look at section 17.5 of the deal the union bosses cooked up to screw the employees.

2. The union bargained away the ability to earn personal days, which could become nearly an additional week of vacation over the course of a year.

3. Job cuts are coming within weeks. This is from a company memo that was issued within hours of the contract being approved. The e-mail to employees says, in part:

"We could have some additional staff reductions over the summer. It's still early in the budgeting process, so the number of jobs that could be cut has yet to be determined. We will do our best to keep additional personnel reductions to a minimum."

One expects the union to give its own spin. One, however, is surprised to see East Bay Express swallow that spin hook, line and sinker.

I just wish people were aware enough to realize the following:

The company has its own agenda: survive, find profits, control expenses, create revenue and pay down debts.

The union has its own agenda: create revenue by finding more people to pay dues.

But there was a better agenda than either of those: What was best for the employees during tough times.

The only group that had that goal at the top of its agenda was the group that was skeptical about the union.

Those skeptical about the union predicted the union would turn out to be an inexperienced, bumbling group at the negotiating table. It was predicted the union would fail to produce a contract that was better than the existing employee handbook. It was predicted that the union was merely interested in a contract at any cost.

Sadly, those forecasts were prescient.

Well, the union sowed the seeds of destruction for the East Bay newspapers. Now it's time for the whirlwind.

Posted by sfmediaguy on 06/04/2009 at 5:18 PM

Re: “Mercury News Journalists Agree to Pay Cuts

what Sara Steffens said is "in quotes"
what she really meant to say is **in stars**

“This is a really happy conclusion"
**for management. This was**

"a long struggle"
**designed to create the farce that the union supported the employees, but what the union really wanted was to get more people paying dues**


"on the part of a lot of people"
**specifically the union bosses who lied about their true intentions until they could get a contract at any cost**

said Sara Steffens
**who is a colleage of Carl T. Hall, a union boss who works for the Newspaper Guild, which filed a vindictive, vengeful, spiteful grievance that, had it been successful, would have rescinded pay raises for hard-working employees who were anti-union**

"It's clear that our union's here to stay"
**and be a faithful lapdog for management**

"We want to continue building a new relationship with the company."

**because surely there must be more issues on which we can capitulate in our role of supine enablers.**

That's what Sara really meant to say, reading between the lines.

-George

Posted by sfmediaguy on 06/03/2009 at 12:51 AM

Re: “Mercury News Journalists Agree to Pay Cuts

Regarding the East Bay contract, Sara Steffens in her spin control failed to note that the union agreed to some things that are actually *worse* than what is in the employee handbook.

Among them: The union agreed to open-ended payments, without limit, as part of the contract.

Multiple company officials with BANG-EB have stated "this is a great contract for MediaNews Group." The company also is reportedly eager for this to go into effect.

The backup for this is in Article 17.5 of the East Bay contract.

Also notice that the vote occurred within just a few days of the tentative agreement.

Why the rush to get this enacted, if it's such a great deal for the company? Why is the union so eager to get a vote on this?

The answer is simple. Union bosses like Carl T. Hall fear that people will become furious when they see how the union rolled over and played dead for MediaNews Group.

If pay cuts are necessary, why did the East Bay union at least not demand the same kind of limit on the pay cuts that the San Jose union extracted from the exact same company -- a 9 percent limit.?

Good union lap dog! Play dead! Heel!

Also, people who are blogging about this demonstrate a remarkable lack of curiosity about the pay cuts in the East Bay.

Regarding East Bay Express' coverage of this, I have a few questions:

Does EBE think the East Bay would escape the pay cuts?

Doesn't EBE think it was a bit odd that Sara Steffens has made no mention of the potential for pay cuts in the East Bay? Or the pay cut language? And it's certainly far more open-ended than the pay cut language in San Jose.

Did you ever find out the real reason why some people left their union leadership posts in the East Bay? And I'm not talking about Sara.

Bottom line: We skeptics about the union warned that at some point, the union would simply capitulate to management and screw the workers. All we wanted was the best thing for the employees: a union free work place where employees could deal directly with management, free of the dead hand of the union bosses.

The union bosses have what they want: a contract at all costs, and people paying dues.

The company has what it wants: an invertebrate for a union, a supine enabler.

What do the employees get that wasn't in the handbook? A summer to ponder the prospects of potential pay cuts without limit, starting as soon as Oct. 1, 2009.

Gee thanks, Newspaper Guild. Have a great summer!

-George

Posted by sfmediaguy on 06/02/2009 at 2:32 PM

Re: “The Death of Free Online News

Newspapers are giving away all their content for free. Therefore they receive no revenue for that.

Local newspapers also produce local stories. Nobody else produces them. The local bloggers, for the most part, comment about stories that the newspaper wrote about previously.

If the paper didn't write about the local story to begin with, the local blogger would have less to write about..

Therefore, the scarce product -- not the commodity -- is the *local* news that a paid reporter dug up and wrote about.

So suppose a newspaper began charging for that LOCAL content? Where else would you find it?

Would you find those local, exclusive stories on a blog? No -- not unless the blog copied it from the newspaper.

Is local news a commodity? No.
Is local news scarce? Yes.
Does local news have a price? Yes.
Do newspapers know what is that online price? No.

Still, because local news is a non-commodity -- is scarce -- the producer can charge for it -- so long as that local news has value, as yet unknown. But there is a market price for that local product -- which is scarce.

What that price is, the market will determine.
Nevertheless, while unknown, there is a price point. It's simple economics.

Right now, newspapers get nothing for their stories.
By charging for their stories, they will get something.

If the experiment flops, they will be back where they started -- getting nothing.

But until you attempt to determine the market price for a scarce item, you can't actually generate any revenue whenever you offer it for free.

My comments have nothing to do about how to save newspapers. My point is that economics tells us that charging for exclusive local content will generate some unknown level of revenue.

To make it simple:
1. You have zero dollars when you give away local news.
2. You get X dollars when you charge for it.

The value of "X" is unknown. The value of zero is definitely known.

Posted by sfmediaguy on 05/27/2009 at 5:07 PM

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