Thursday, June 30, 2005

Kids Say the Darndest Things

Lisa Sodders passed this email along from her sister, who's also a journalist at a well-known union paper back east. While young Liam wouldn't have to worry about action quite this drastic here, it's good to see he's thinking like a union man from a young age. Solidarity, young brother...

From Lisa:
Liam is my 2-year-old nephew.
Begin forwarded message:

Liam says to me today: "1, 2, 3, 5, 6, ,7, 8, 9, 10!"
I said, "What about 4?"
He says, after a slight pause: "4 is on strike."

Where did he get that? I think from "Click Clack Moo," where the cows and hens go on strike from Farmer Brown.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

No Uvas

By Ben Jauron

My paternal grandfather, John Jauron, was born and raised in Western Montana, but lives in Fresno, and in his backyard, since before I was born, he’s had grapevines. Every summer, he has so many grapes he doesn’t know what to do with them. And then as to this day, when his progeny come to visit him, he gives away grapes by the handful.

My maternal grandfather, Aldo Campanella, came to Brooklyn from the old country. Before my mother was born, he moved to San Bernardino County and started a winery. I guess the climate in Bedford Stuy wasn’t too conducive to the vintner’s trade. A vineyard is basically a grape farm, and that’s where my mother grew up. The winery folded and Aldo Campanella died before I was born.

When I was a little kid, John Jauron’s grapes were the only ones we ate, as per my mother’s dictates. As an adult, only now do I realize what a stretch it was for her to forego the crop that had played such a pivotal part in her early years.
And why did she — and by extension the whole family — abandon all grapes except the ones her father-in-law cultivated with his own hands? I think you’ve probably guessed by now, but let’s just say that terms like “Cesar Chavez” and “U.F.W” didn’t mean too much to me at the time. I just relished getting to go to grandma and grandpa’s house and actually getting to eat grapes. What a delicacy!

So the union was a big part of my life growing up, as evidenced by the dinner table. At the union meetings, sometimes new members talk about why they’ve joined. They say things like, “I got into trouble and the union helped me out,” or, “I really support you guys and what you’re working towards.” And all those reasons are great, don’t get me wrong, but when people ask me why I joined the union, my answer is simple:

“If it ever got out that I had a chance to join a union and didn’t take it, it would break my poor Italian mother’s heart.”

So that’s why, at least in part. Of course, I could tell you about how, before he left Western Montana for Fresno, John Jauron and his brothers working in the Anaconda Copper Mines went on strike and stood toe to toe with Montana State Militiamen, where nearly all men on both sides of the line were World War II veterans…

But that’s a different story…

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Negotiations, Round 1

Contract negotiations began today at the Daily News, with both the union and management trading opening proposals regarding workplace conditions. Kerry Kandel and Brent Hopkins from the bargaining team, Vicki DiPaolo from the union and longtime union activist Evan Yee sat on our side, while Dave Butler, labor relations vice president Jim Janiga and human resources director Laurie Knight represented the company.

Things got off to a good start, with the union proposing some reasonable changes to the current contract, including two additional holidays, adding reimbursement for professional development and protection against workforce reduction. Janiga responded quickly and seemed amenable to many of our requests, though his counter-proposal was merely an extension of the current contract for another three years. Both sides expressed a desire to build upon the relationship that has developed between management and workers in the previous three years.

We'll meet again in early July, the first of three more scheduled negotiations, when we'll discuss wages and other economic issues. While that will likely be a tougher series of discussions, we look at today's session as an extremely positive beginning. We believe that with your support and continued good rapport with management negotiators, we'll bring back a stronger, better contract that will make life easier for all of us.

Thanks for reading and feel free to comment on what you'd like to see in future sessions. We'd like this to be an open forum for discussion, but if you have private concerns to address, please send them to and we'll give them a look.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Welcome to The Paper Trail

Greetings, Everyone!

This is an exciting time for the union here at the Daily News. Not only are we only hours away from opening contract negotiations, we've got this blog, The Paper Trail, to talk about it with. We'll be posting frequent updates on the proceedings here to let everyone know what we're up to and how things are going, so check in often to see the latest news.

Additionally, we've created this to foster discussion about the workplace, the paper and journalism in general. If there's something on your mind, post it here or send it to and we can talk it out online. We're not here to bash the paper or pick on each other; we're here to find ways to make this place the best we can.

So have at it, guys-- thanks for reading and participating.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

BLOGS AWAY: The Daily News' union explodes on the Web

Welcome to all Daily Newsers. This is your blog, an opportunity to come together as a community of journalists who care about The Daily News. Feel free to post messages in the pursuit of truth and the greater good of all who make our craft a noble cause. Please be respectful of different perspectives, knowing that diversity of thought eventually reaps progress. Let the blogging begin!