Vol XI, No. 80 TNG/CWA Local 31041 Dec. 28, 2000


So far, of a Guild bargaining unit of 500 workers, 19 people have contributed to the union’s United Way drive.

We can do better!

A second round of donor forms was distributed by hand yesterday and today, a backup to the forms that were mailed to union members’ homes two weeks ago.

If you haven’t filled out the earlier one, please use the new one, and get it back to Felice Freyer in the newsroom. She’ll forward it to the United Way.
The Guild undertook its first-ever drive after the last membership meeting voted to ask members to donate through or on behalf of the Guild, rather than through the traditional company campaign.

The reason: some members were annoyed with the company’s “Dear Fellow Employee” approach, especially in a year in which the newspaper has made it harder for Guild members to give, by failing to grant a raise, part of the overall Journal-Belo effort to crush the union.

But now having undertaken this step, it’s important for the union to try to make this work, and ensure that the United Way is helped by our campaign, that we add new donors and more funds to this important charity.

There are several methods to donate:

  • Write a check.
  • Ask the United Way to bill you regularly.
  • Have the United Way bill your credit card.

(Because this is a union drive, you cannot elect payroll deduction).

The amount that you give is not as important as the gift itself. If you can afford $5, $10 or $15, any amount is appreciated.

Remember, the United Way helps the entire southeastern New England community, most notably, the children and women and men who are most in need.

And despite the company’s economic war against us, we are still better off than the majority of Rhode Islanders who don’t have a union.



As negotiations go into their second year, pension and medical benefits remain among the key unresolved issues between The Providence Newspaper Guild and The Providence Journal.

Differences also remain on pay for Prepublishing Department workers and over the operation of the incentive program for advertising sales representatives.

These are among the items highlighted in a side-by-side breakdown of contract topics that accompanies today’s Guild Leader. (Click here to read it.)

The negotiation summary shows the differences between the union and company positions, as well as those points on which the two sides have agreed since negotiations began Oct. 28, 1999. The most recent session was July 11.

The comparison also shows areas in which the Guild has modified its proposal – in essence moving closer to the company’s proposals – since the membership voted to reject the company’s offer last February.

In contrast, the company has not made any changes.

Last week, the National Labor Relations Board issued a complaint, saying that the Journal has violated federal labor laws in about 20 counts, many of which charge that the company has failed to bargain in good faith.

The bargaining summary published today is part of an ongoing effort to keep members informed of the details of the talks.

In coming weeks, we will go into some of the issues in more detail.
Guild members are encouraged to ask questions.

Please ask any member of the executive board; call Tim Schick, Guild administrator at 421-9466; e-mail the union at png@riguild.org; and call or write Brian Jones, one of the editors of the Guild Leader at extension 7360; phone 338-2071; e-mail brijudy@ids.net.

Another forum is the union’s “listserv’’ which is an Internet forum, in which union issues are aired on an e-mail network open only to Guild members. The only catch is that you need a home computer, as we don’t use newspaper computers for this. To sign up, e-mail tonydepaul@aol.com.

Members are also encouraged to come to the quarterly membership meeting Wednesday, Jan. 17, at noon, at the Guild offices on the second floor of 270 Westminster St., Providence.



It appears that helping Howard Sutton succeed in winning the Scrooge of the Year Award was the easy part.

The more difficult task proved to be delivering the award to his 4th-floor office.

You will remember that the Journal publisher overwhelmingly tromped other Rhode Island CEOs in balloting conducted by Jobs With Justice.

But when representatives from Jobs With Justice and other unions attempted to present Sutton with his award on Friday morning, Dec. 22, they were turned away at the door by Journal security monitor Jack Simeone, along with Tom McDonough, human resources director and Patricia Welker, newsroom administrator. The group was told that only Journal employees could go up to the 4th Floor.

So, newsroom staffer Karen Davis offered to deliver the award, which consisted of a stocking filled with coal, a framed Scrooge of the Year certificate and a copy of the book, A Christmas Carol. All of the items were displayed in an open box.

After Davis stepped on the elevator, alone, Simeone hurried in after her, but held the doors open to continue a back-and-forth with Jobs With Justice reps. To simplify things, Davis stepped out to wait for the next elevator.

As Simeone's elevator began its ascent, he was heard talking into a two-way radio to tell his brawny, specially-hired security team (which were dispersed throughout the building): "I need you to go up to the 4th floor. Karen Davis is on her way up with it!''

Davis went back into the newsroom, where a co-worker suggested she use the back elevator. She and Guild member Ged Carbone attempted to do that, but found that that elevator, mysteriously, would not open on the first floor.

The pair climbed the stairs to the 3rd floor, then hopped the now-working elevator to the 4th. They immediately noticed a security monitor posted at the stairwell door. Shortly afterwards Simeone, another security operative and McDonough also showed up.

With Simeone lurking in the background, Sutton's secretary informed the Guild members that the publisher was not in his office. At that point, Davis and Carbone decided to leave the award with her, for delivery upon his return.

When Davis and Carbone left the 4th floor, Simeone and his security team were last seen talking in a huddle on the 4th floor.

Davis - who is no stranger to surveillance - likened the experience to the one she faced in January 1999, when she and then-intern Alisha Pina (both are black) were singled out as security threats at Governor Almond's public inauguration ceremony.

Copyright © 2000 The Providence Newspaper Guild
TNG/CWA Local 31041
270 Westmister St., Providence, Rhode Island 02903
401-421-9466 | Fax: 401-421-9495