at Thursday meeting
One of the most dramatic newspaper industry events of the past year was the strike by the Pacific Northwest Newspaper Guild against the Seattle Times and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer - called at time when many people thought newspaper walkouts weren't viable.
But the Guild conducted a daring 49-day-strike, which concluded with the union believing that the newspapers learned new respect for the Guild and won't again underestimate the union's resolve.
Thursday, June 14, Providence Newspaper Guild members will get to hear an account of that strike - and its bitter aftermath - first hand.
Naomi Ishisaka, a strike leader, will talk about the Washington newspaper walkout during the Guild's membership meeting at 12 noon at the Guild's headquarters, 2nd floor, 270 Westminster St., Providence.
Ishisaka, 26, will describe the preparations and the conduct of that strike, in addition to the startling aftershocks of the walkout, which are still being felt in Seattle - by people like herself.
A copy editor at The Times, Ishisaka was one of the strikers who was not immediately brought back to work after the walkout ended Jan. 9, but were kept on a waiting list - a list that still contains about 50 of the 1,000 strikers.
But when Ishisaka, rather than cooling her heels, took a job in the meantime as editor-in-chief of ColorsNW Magazine, The Times declared that she was working for "competing media'' and fired her. The Guild is fighting the company's action.
In an interview yesterday, Ishisaka said that she had been on The Times several months when she became part of a group hoping to energize the leadership of the Guild, and was elected to the Pacific Northwest Guild's executive board.
In addition, she was part of the bargaining committee, and when the Nov. 21 walkout neared, she was named to the steering committee that planned and conducted the strike. She was in charge of communications between rank and file union members and the Guild leadership.
She said one of the most important things that the Seattle strikers accomplished was ending the strike relatively quickly, without it developing into the years-long situation faced by Detroit newspaper unions.
Further, although there were many union members unsure about whether a strike was a good idea before it began, after the strike, many Guild members no longer were stuck in the middle of the road:
"The thing that is different is that people really see clearly that we are not the bad guys here,'' she said. "I think that it really made the union stronger."
Ishisaka is Seattle native, and has a BA in ethnic studies and political economy from The Evergreen State College. She has worked at The Seattle Times, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, The News Tribune and the Bremerton Sun.
Guild members who cannot attend the membership meeting, and would like to speak with Naomi Ishisaka, or who would like to discuss the Seattle experience with her further, are invited to do so Thursday or Friday. Contact Brian Jones, 7360, Felice Freyer, 7397, or other members of the executive board.
TNG/CWA Local 31041
270 Westmister St., Providence, Rhode Island 02903
401-421-9466 | Fax: 401-421-9495