Two Guild Members
to Attend Belo Stockholders
May 9 Confab in Dallas
Guild will send two stockholder-representatives to the annual stockholders'
meeting of the Belo Corp., scheduled May 9 in Dallas.
purpose is to alert fellow stockholders to troubles facing one of
their key subsidiaries - The Providence Journal - as exemplified by
the wasteful and expensive labor problems provoked by the company's
union's representatives will seek answers as to why the corporation
has allowed the situation in Rhode Island to go on for a year-and-a-half,
costing Belo thousands of dollars in legal fees, as well as a run-off
of human capital, with the departure of key journalists, ad salespersons
and other employees.
for the Guild will be Kerry Kohring, a copy editor who owns shares
of Belo, and who is a member of the union's executive board and negotiating
committee. Kohring helps edit The Journal's daily business pages.
going to the session will be Brian Jones, another executive board
member and a former financial writer for the newspaper, now assigned
to the general assignment staff. Jones owns a small amount of Belo
addition to representing their own shares, Kohring and Jones will
be voting the 170 shares held by the Providence local, shares owned
by other Guild members, and 80 shares owned by The Newspaper Guild/
Communications Workers of America.
executive board voted to send representatives to the meeting because
its members felt it important that shareholders understand some of
the destructive practices going on in Providence.
the Guild members hope to learn more about the operations of the Belo
parent corporation, since it exerts such strong control over The Journal,
where the circulation slide has continued since the Dallas corporation
bought the newspaper and its TV stations four years ago.
employees, like the corporation's thousands of other workers, are
interested in management's thinking about the health of Belo -- which
in the last quarter saw profits plummet more than 95 percent -- as
well as its new business initiatives, such as the Cue:Cat technology
that has earned disappointing reviews nationally.
the Guild stockholders will focus on what they know intimately, the
debacle of the labor situation here in Providence, where prolonged
negotiations have added to an unpleasant work atmosphere, which has
contributed to the departure of 55 workers in the past year-and-a-half.
and The Journal Company have spent thousands of dollars in legal fees
in what the Guild considers frivolous lawsuits to thwart the union's
right to arbitration.
Most serious is the conduct that has earned The Journal 30 counts of unfair labor practice violation, which will be aired at a hearing by the National Labor Relations Board in June.
will cost more lawyers' fees for Belo and The Journal to defend themselves,
while the NLRB, not the Guild, will shoulder the cost of prosecution.
only scheduled business on the stockholders' agenda, as described
in the proxy statement, is the election of three directors, one of
whom is Stephen Hamblett, 66, the retired Journal publisher who was
responsible for Belo's purchase of The Journal in 1997.
Belo rules require retirement of directors at age 65, the proxy statement
says that The Journal deal specified that Hamblett could remain on
the board until he is 70.
The Guild executive board authorized funds to send Kohring and Jones to Dallas. The expenses include a total of $644 for airfare, $125 for a hotel room, plus two-days of lost work time for both workers, (travel necessitates two days), and miscellaneous costs.
TNG/CWA Local 31041
270 Westmister St., Providence, Rhode Island 02903
401-421-9466 | Fax: 401-421-9495