Vol XIII, Issue 16 TNG/CWA Local 31041 June 6, 2002

June 10 Guild Responds to Tragedy: June 13 byline strike deferred till June 20

Byline strike set for June 20

Text has been edited to reflect new date of byline strike.
In response to numerous calls by Guild members, the Guild is calling on all reporters and photographers to withhold their bylines or credits from all stories, pictures or illustrations to be published in the Thursday, June 20, editions of the Journal, to protest of our lack of a contract and the illegal acts by the company during the negotiations.

Under the terms of the contract that are still in effect despite the lack of a new agreement, reporters, photographers and illustrators have the right to have their names withheld from their work if they indicate on their work. The company is allowed to put names on columns, reviews or other opinion pieces, but not on news stories or pictures.

We have used byline strikes in the past, most recently the week of Sept. 11, and many members have called for random one or two day byline strikes since then as a way of demonstrating our displeasure with the progress -- or more accurately, the lack of progress -- in the talks.

Byline strikes are a common weapon during labor disputes. Just last week the staff of the Washington Post withheld their bylines for two days to protest their company's disappointing wage offers as well as such non-money issues as the management's desire to install surveillance cameras in the newsroom.

Keeping our names off our work makes two points. First, it demonstrates our unity when we all make the same sacrifice simultaneously. Bylines mean a lot to reporters; they show the world what we have done and give us a chance, in a small way, to show off what we can do. Giving that up hurts. But we must be willing to accept some pain to get what we want.

Second, the absence of local bylines make the paper look lousy. Regular readers notice the difference and it is a public embarrassment for management, an open act of defiance that lets the people in their little circles know that they are not wholly respected or in charge of their own house.

In the past, Journal editors have shown obvious anger at byline strikes. The opinion/column/news analysis exemption has often been stretched to justify putting a byline on a story. More than once reporters have stood up to furious management pressure to break ranks for major developed stories; stories were rescheduled for later rather than run during a byline strike.

The byline strike is part of a series of actions the Guild has already begun for this summer designed to make it increasingly uncomfortable for the company to operate in defiance of federal law and in contempt of the people who make their prosperity possible.

Guild Updates

MEMBERSHIP MEETING -- Wednesday, June 12, 2002 at noon at the Guild office, 270 Westminster St. 2nd Floor, Providence. The agenda includes:

Nominations to Fill 1 Vacant Executive Committee Seat: Nominations may also be made in advance of the meeting by petitions signed by at least six members in good standing. In the event of multiple nominations, an election will be scheduled.

Scholarship Drawing: Winners of the 2002 Guild scholarship will be selected.

Expense Check Direct Deposit: Members will vote on whether to accept a company offer to begin direct deposit of expense checks.

Copyright © 2002 The Providence Newspaper Guild
TNG/CWA Local 31041
270 Westmister St., Providence, Rhode Island 02903
401-421-9466 | Fax: 401-421-9495