Vol XIV, Issue 7 TNG/CWA Local 31041 May 23, 2003
Guild mourns 'Jag'
Memorial fund established to help late reporter's widow

Providence Journal reporter, Providence Newspaper Guild president dies at 60
Nominations for new president
set for June

Speaking at the Belo Corp.'s annual meeting in Dallas yesterday, Guild Executive Committee member Kerry Kohring told Belo chairman Robert Decherd that Journal executives had violated the company's own ethics code when they broke federal labor laws in their dealings with the Guild.

Kohring called on Decherd to describe what action he plans to take in response, but Decherd did not reply to that question.

The newly issued code explicitly requires directors, officers and employees to obey the law, under penalty of firing. The Journal has been convicted of 27 violations of the National Labor Relations Act.

Speak your mind!
Demand decent pay!

Rally for a fair contract on Wednesday, May 28, on Fountain St.

Belo CEO Robert Decherd got a $1.2 million bonus. Where's our share of the bounty we helped build? Tell the company we want what's owed us at rally outside the main building on Wednesday, May 28, from 12:15 to 12:45 p.m. Come help make placards at the Guild office at noon on Tuesday, May 27.

Contract update
The Guild postponed the bargaining session scheduled for Tuesday May 20 because of Bob Jagolinzer's funeral. The session has been rescheduled for May 29. The Executive Committee will meet June 2 to consider the results of that meeting. The Guild leadership is trying to reach agreement with the company on terms for revealing the results of off-the-record bargaining, so that Guild members can vote on the company's latest proposal.

Nominate a new president
on June 11

To nominate a candidate for president of the Guild, submit a petition signed by at least six Guild members in good standing before noon on June 11. Or, you can nominate a candidate from the floor of the membership meeting that starts at noon on June 11, at the Guild office, 270 Westminster St., Providence. If only one candidate is nominated, he or she will take office immediately. If more than one is nominated, an election will be scheduled. The new president will serve until June 2004. Nominations will also be accepted on June 11 for one vacant position of delegate to the August TNG and CWA conventions. Also at the June meeting, columnist Bob Kerr will be sworn in as a new member of the Guild Executive Committee. The Executive Committee incumbents and the other officers will also be sworn in. Kerr was nominated at the April quarterly meeting to the seven-member committee. The board had a vacancy because of the resignation of Linda Cox, so the seven seats were uncontested.

In breaking the law, Kohring told Decherd and other Belo stockholders, Journal executives "are therefore also in violation of the Belo Corporation's Code of Business Conduct and Ethics and subject to its stated disciplinary action, including possible 'termination of employment or other relationship with Belo' and/or 'removal as a director or officer.'

"Will you please detail for us what actions you and the Management Committee will take to enforce the Belo code of conduct in this case?"

Kohring noted that the Journal's failure to comply with the company's code of conduct endangers Belo's integrity and the value of its stock.

In a phone interview afterward, Kohring said that Decherd did not address his question. Instead, Decherd said that he regrets that the Guild and the company have not reached a contract agreement but that the annual meeting is not the appropriate place to discuss labor relations.

Decherd pointed out that Belo has contracts with the Teamsters and the Pressmen at the Journal and with other unions at other companies. He acknowledged the National Labor Relations Board charges, but stressed that some had been dismissed. Decherd also implied that the Guild was using unfair-labor-practice charges as a substitute for bargaining.

(In reality, the Guild has spent more than three years seeking a negotiated settlement. After careful review of Guild complaints, the National Labor Relations Board, a federal agency, brought charges against the Journal for numerous violations of labor law -- some quite blatant -- in its dealings with the Guild. The board won convictions on virtually all the most important issues.)

This was Kohring's third trip to Dallas to address stockholders at the Belo annual meeting and to implore Decherd to end the Journal's self-destructive war on its employees.

Before the meeting, Kohring ran into Journal publisher Howard G. Sutton. Sutton said that he, too, would like a contract settlement. He said he wanted the company's latest offer to come before the members for a vote to "let democracy take its course."

"If it's defeated," Sutton told Kohring, "that will send a message."

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