RALLY DRAWS FRIENDS
FROM NEAR AND FAR
Guild members from as far away as Manchester, N.H. and Boston joined the Providence Newspaper Guild and other Rhode Island unions Oct. 20 in a spirited weekend rally to protest the illegal conduct of negotiations by The Providence Journal.
The demonstration was marked by singing of labor songs, as well fiery speeches from the state's political and labor leaders.
About 200 people participated in the 2-hour protest, which was held in front of The Journal building.
The event drew media coverage from television station WLNE, Channel 6,which aired reports during its evening newscasts Saturday radio stations including WPRO, and The Providence Phoenix.
For the first time in months, The Journal took note of the story at its own front door, although the short story skipped the deeper issues that underlie the 2-year-old dispute between the Guild and the company.
The newspaper's brush-off, no fault of the assigned reporter, was typical of its censorship of the dispute and other unflattering aspects of its business affairs.
U.S. Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy urged unity in challenging the Journal's law-breaking tactics, which have drawn 47 unfair labor practice charges from the National Labor Relations Board.
Other speakers included Frank J. Montanaro, R.I.
AFL-CIO president, who said that "We'll stand behind this union until the day we see victory." Montanaro was joined by another AFL-CIO official, George H. Nee, secretary-treasurer.
Lt. Gov. Charles Fogarty attended, and Secretary of State Edward S. Inman III sent word that he is distressed that top staffers have left the paper because of the dispute.
Not everyone was content to speak. Kate Coyne-McCoy, director of the Rhode Island chapter of the National Alliance of Social Workers, and a candidate for Congress last year, belted out "Step by Step," an old labor song. Other labor tunes were contributed by George Mann, a New York labor organizer and singer.
Scott Molloy, the bus-driver-turned-URI-professor, climbed up on the truck bed that served as a podium, and "lectured" the Journal Co. and it's Belo parent corporation on their errant treatment of the Guild.
Molloy noted that the nation is under attack not only by terrorists, but by economic mischief-makers who are trying to reverse decades of progress by working folks.
"Now, merely because you've got new corporate masters who speak with a Southern drawl, it's undermining us in a similar way," Molloy said.
Delegations of Guild members from Manchester, N.H., and the Boston local attended. Labor figures included Bob Jordan, president of the Boston Guild, Barry Lipton, president of the New York Guild; Bernie Lunzer, secretary-treasurer of The Newspaper Guild/Communications Workers of America, Leslie Philips, a TNG vice president.
One theme of the rally was the Journal Company's illegal behavior during negotiations, as cited in the NLRB's 47 unfair labor practice charges, which the board will prosecute in at a federal hearing in February.
TNG/CWA Local 31041
270 Westmister St., Providence, Rhode Island 02903
401-421-9466 | Fax: 401-421-9495