Digital First Media workers revolt against cuts
WASHINGTON, April 21, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — Nearly 1,000 news workers at Digital First Media have launched a nationwide revolt against job cuts and profiteering they say are threatening local journalism at the nation’s second-largest newspaper company, The NewsGuild, TNG-CWA, announced.
Alden Global Capital, the New York-based hedge fund that owns Digital First Media, employs a business strategy based on buying up newspapers, stripping them of their tangible assets, consolidating and outsourcing critical operations, and slashing staffing levels without regard to the harm its actions do to the newspapers, service, and the employees who make those newspapers profitable.
Guild members work at 13 Digital First bargaining units in cities including Denver, Colo.; San Jose, the East Bay and Long Beach, Calif.; Kingston, N.Y., and suburbs of Detroit and Philadelphia. They have joined together nationwide in a coordinated campaign, under the theme “News Matters,” to defend journalism and achieve fair labor contracts.
Tactics so far have included a petition drive that produced more than 400 signatures delivered to DFM executives. Essays, news stories and photos about the campaign are being posted online (dfmworkers.org) and social media (facebook.com/dfmworkers/ or on Twitter #NewsMatters, @dfmworkers.)
Organizers now seek community allies in a broader campaign. The first “News Matters Day” will be on Friday, May 6. “We need to defend quality journalism against corporate attack,” said Carl Hall, executive officer of the San Francisco-based Pacific Media Workers Guild, one of the Guild locals involved in the “News Matters” project.
Guild-represented employees at DFM newspapers have gone without pay raises for years – some as long as a decade. Scores have been laid off or quit in frustration. The ever-increasing workload on those who remain has led to burnout and rock-bottom morale in the workplace.
The campaign represents the first time so many news workers have come together across multiple bargaining units in a coordinated effort.
Funded through a grant from the Communications Workers of America, the Digital First Media Workers Group said it is bringing the “News Matters” message to everyone.
Why News Matters?
Because journalists hold the powerful accountable.
Because a community watchdog is needed.
Because democracy depends on journalism.
“We are asking the public to join in our fight for the quality journalism communities served by DFM newspapers are entitled to and for the fair salaries and workplace dignity DFM employees deserve,” said Patricia Doxsey, national campaign spokesperson for the Digital First Media Workers Group.
NATIONAL SPOKESPERSON: PATRICIA DOXSEY at firstname.lastname@example.org
CALIFORNIA: CARL HALL at email@example.com
MINNESOTA: CANDACE LUND at firstname.lastname@example.org
MICHIGAN: LOU GRIECO at email@example.com
PENNSYLVANIA: BILL ROSS at firstname.lastname@example.org
NEW YORK: PATRICIA DOXSEY at email@example.com
DENVER: KIERNAN NICHOLSON, firstname.lastname@example.org
SOURCE The NewGuild-Communications Workers of America