(en)Detroit newspaper struggle continues

Lyn and Shawn (linjin@tao.ca)
Tue, 3 Jun 1997 02:48:50 pst

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Date sent: Mon, 2 Jun 1997 20:57:13 -0700 (PDT) To: clr From: Mike Rhodes <clr2@igc.apc.org> Subject: Detroit newspaper struggle continues

Labor Alerts/Labor News a service of Campaign for Labor Rights


[Text of this alert was excerpted from material provided by Action! Motown '97. See contact information below.]

No News or Free Press Wanted Here!

Since July l3, 1995, more than 2,000 families in six newspaper unions have been defending their futures, their unions, and the collective bargaining process against the two biggest newspaper corporations in America.

>From the beginning, working people in Detroit and Michigan and all
the country have stood in solidarity with the Detroit newspaper workers.

Gannett Co., Inc., and Knight-Ridder, Inc. have been charged with numerous unfair labor practices that caused and prolonged the labor dispute, according to the federal government's case against the companies.

There is little doubt that the media giants and their newspapers, Gannett's Detroit News and Knight-Ridder's Free Press, will ultimately be found guilty of at least one violation of federal labor law. This means the newspaper workers will ultimately be returned to their rightful jobs, while the struggle for contracts continues.

The striking unions made unconditional offers to return to work in mid-February. The companies' response was to put the workers on a preferential hiring list and offer them jobs as vacancies occur -- while some l,400 so-called "permanent replacement workers" remain on the job.

The unions have asked the National Labor Relations Board to seek a federal court order to force the companies to obey the law and take back all eligible unfair labor practice strikers. If a court injunction is granted, many of the former strikers would be ordered back to work. No matter what happens, the struggle will go on until all the workers are back to work with contracts. Detroit area advertiser and subscriber boycotts are continuing, as is the boycott against Gannett's largest paper, USA Today.

Gannett and Knight-Ridder are using their media holdings from coast to coast to finance their war on working people in Detroit. They have hired a private army of paramilitary guards to intimidate and harass union workers and supporters. They have hired more than l,400 so-called "permanent replacement" workers. They have continued to publish in the face of community outrage, criticism from religious and political leaders and the desertion of two out of three advertisers.

The cost of this corporate arrogance has been high: The News and Free Press, backed by Gannett and Knight-Ridder, have thrown away an estimated $250 million in losses and foregone profits. They have allowed their core readership to shrink by more than one-third, an unthinkable erosion in today's highly competitive media market. Even worse, the newspapers have lost the respect and credibility they need to function effectively in the community.

Unfortunately, this pattern of defiance and destruction has become all too commonplace in corporate America. Now more than ever, the Detroit newspaper workers need the support union people from all walks of life and all corners of the country. A show of solidarity in Detroit on June 20 and 21 would put corporate America on notice that union people stand together.

STAND UP! Come to Detroit and make a stand for the newspaper workers and for working families everywhere.


Friday, June 20

12 Noon - Prayer vigil in front of the Detroit News Also (tentative) action aimed at Michigan's anti-labor Republican governor

2:00 - 5:00 P.M. - A Gathering of Friends Engaged in Social and Economic Justice Work Episcopal Diocesan Center, 4800 Woodward Ave (at Warren), Detroit

7:00 - 9:30 P.M. - AFL-CIO Teach-In. The Future of Economic and Social Justice: Labor, the Detroit Newspaper Strike and Beyond

l0:00 P.M. - 2:00 A.M. Benefit for Locked-out Workers Magic Stick Club - 4l40 Woodward Ave. at Alexandrine, Detroit

Saturday, June 21

8:00 A.M. - 9:00 A.M. - Interfaith Religious Ceremony at Hart Plaza

9:30 A.M. - l P.M. - Actions against Gannett and Knight-Ridder, and greedy corporate colleagues (Details of actions will not be released until day of actions for security reasons. Participants will gather at various staging areas in metropolitan area.)

2:00 P.M. - March

4:00 P.M. - Rally

6:00 P.M. - Entertainment

For more information (including hotel accommodations) contact Action! Motown '97 at 313-896-2600 (toll free 1-888-97-MOTOWN), info@action97.w1.com or visit the web site at http://www.action97.w1.com

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