Children are allowed at Journal
Bring stuffed animals Tuesday to support working parents
Schick and McDonough discussed the matter because Pat Welker, managing editor for administration, had evicted three children of Guild members from the newsroom last week, saying it was company policy that no children were allowed.
Such a policy would have been a change in working conditions and thus subject to negotiations because in the past, Guild members (and members of management) have brought their children into the building for years without censure.
But McDonough said it was all a mistake.
Nevertheless, Teddy Bear Tuesday is still on, no longer as a protest but now as a statement of support for a family-friendly workplace. Everyone is encouraged to bring a stuffed animal to work to show that our children matter to us and that we expect our employer to respect that.
The child-eviction issue caused a stir in the newsroom last week. One reporter had to leave early because Welker said her child could not stay in the newsroom. Later Welker upbraided another reporter who had to bring his child in because both he and his wife were called in on emergency overtime.
In a third instance, Welker kicked out a child who was actually 20 years old and who was quietly watching television, waiting for his mother.
Reporter Linda Borg, who has no children, was so outraged that she posted a letter (reproduced below) on Jim Romenesko's Web site at the Poynter Institute. That caught the attention of Executive Editor Joel Rawson, who told Borg there was no such anti-child policy at the Journal.
Many managers occasionally bring their children into the office, so the issue was of widespread concern.
On Friday, Carol Young, deputy executive editor, personally apologized to the parents of the three children involved. Guild members throughout the building were heartened by the company's swift action to set matters straight, and to apologize to those who had been wronged.
Linda Borg's letter to Romenesko
Nasty newsroom atmosphere
From LINDA BORG, education reporter, Providence Journal:
Last week, the only black woman iin the newsroom was singled out for bringing her son to work, briefly, while his babysitter went to the doctor. She was told never to do this again because it was company policy. No other parent was asked to do the same. The following day, two more parents were called into the editor's office and told the same thing. The editor is Pat Welker, the Journal's beancounter.
One of the parents had her son, a 20-year-old man with Down's Syndrome, in the office for 20 minutes prior to a dentist's appointment. She was told that he had to leave, even though he is an adult and was quietly watching TV.
Belo recently sent out a letter about how "family friendly'' the company is. Clearly, their actions belie their words. Some of us here are outraged that we are being treated like chattel. One reporter, for example, brought his daughter into work because he had to work overtime on a breaking story and couldn't leave his daughter home alone.
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