Here is a work-to-rule guide.
What is work-to-rule?
Whats important is not the specific job actions
that each of us does, but the fact that all of us do what we can.
Using common sense, and our professional conscience, what
can we do?
We are looking for an honest days work.
But one done in a way that the newspapers top management
will feel the pain of not having the good will of its workforce.
Think of it as a substitute for a strike its
Its meant to make it more difficult and more expensive
to put out the paper. Its not a show of solidarity or protest, but
a means to put the screws on, economically. We want to avoid a walkout
if we can; but we do need to put pressure on the paper.
The idea is two-fold:
Preceding the April 26 membership meeting vote that overwhelming
approved work-to-rule, the Guild Leader published some suggestions about
what to do. We are repeating some of these ideas here.
But be creative.
Analyze your own work requirements, and then be innovative.
There is no Bible that outlines any of this -- a lot of it is making this
up as we go along, trial and error. Have fun. Consult your co-workers.
And if you have questions and concerns, talk to executive board and unit
council members, or pick up the phone and give Tim Schick, the Guild administrator,
a call: 421-9466.
One thing you should be aware of is that management
will not sit by quietly, especially as work-to-rule takes effect. Managers
are likely to cut people less slack, which is their way of retaliating.
Some managers live for this kind of rule mongering and they will be in
their glory, inventing ways to make our lives difficult.
Although this is meant to send a message to the fourth
floor and to Belo executives in Dallas, the immediate strain will fall
mostly on middle managers. Try to be considerate of the difficultly they
will be under.
1.WATCH THE CLOCK. The most obvious step in a work-to-rule program is to work only the 7.5 hours a day called for in the contract. The exception is if you must work extra, that it be on an overtime basis, and that must be worked out ahead of time with your supervisor.
2. READ THE PAPER. The Providence Journal
has always had a general rule that its employees read the paper religiously.
For reporters, editors, photographers and visual experts, thats
because one days news leads into the next. And obviously advertising
sales people and pre-publishing workers need to see how their work turned
Often, many people read the paper at home, during breakfast
and before work.
The Guild is suggesting that because for us, unlike general
readers, reading the paper is work, that it be done at work.
We suggest that you try to begin your work day by reading
the paper so youll have a head start on the days news
In any case, you should try to fit reading the paper into
your schedule whenever you get the chance. But reading the paper is something
you should be paid to do.
When you see somebody reading the paper, they are helping
to make it a good paper. And they are working to rule.
Watch the clock.
Read the paper.
Work to rule.
Work-to-Rule for Classified
Work-to-Rule for Copy Editors
· Strive for excellence.
Is the first head you wrote the best you could do?
· Consult reporters. When making substantial changes in stories, you should talk about the changes with the writers, even the grouchy ones.
· Schedule your day.
Dont feel you need to be in the office at certain times or even
· Refer problems to manager. Whenever a customer has a problem, give him or her the number of the manager in that area.
· Be diligent. Instead of calling one or two sources, call five or eight. Instead of a phone interview, go to the scene; get original documents.
· Restore the Journal's reputation as a writers' paper. Is your lead the best you can do? Try another approach. For many writers, the art of writing is the skill of rewriting.
· Don't do the work of two people. Unless, of course, you are paid overtime for it.
Work-to-Rule for Visuals
TNG/CWA Local 31041
270 Westmister St., Providence, Rhode Island 02903
401-421-9466 | Fax: 401-421-9495