Monday, July 04, 2005

Stand Strong.

Hey Folks,

Man, where to start? That Dickens line about the best of times and the worst of times comes to mind...

The Daily News is again in one of its periodic times of intense shift, with the changes in metro and the departure of sports editor Doug Jacobs. And I think this is a preview of the months to come, where more jobs will be moved, more tasks will be redefined, the paper will attempt to reinvent itself anew. And that's going to be hard on all of us to figure out how we fit into it.

We're in the middle of contract talks and while they've started positively, that will add even more uncertainty until both sides sign on that final page. We expect to have it worked out soon and believe that we'll be able to bring back some nice improvements for all of us. Until that day comes, we'll keep you all in the loop to ensure you know what's happening.

So what to make of this period of flux? It's tough, it's hard, it's frustrating for everyone. People's lives are being completely changed, some for better, some for worse. We're going to stick up for everyone who needs it, in any way we can. That's what we're here for, the only reason the union exists -- by relying on one another, we will find a way to get through this to make sure the paper can adapt to changing market without forgetting the people who put it out every day.

Don't get me wrong, I get frustrated, too. I keep waiting for the day when they'll call that meeting to tell us "relax, the good times are here," but until that comes, I can take comfort in the fact that the people who make up this union are here to look out for each other. This isn't just me, isn't just the Contract Committee, it isn't the people in the local-- it's every one of you who speaks up, who helps out their friends and co-workers, who reminds us who and what we're working for every day.

And at the time we need it most, the union's at its strongest. Look at the names on this list, look around the newsroom. We're bigger, more responsive and better versed in how to respond to members' needs. The more people we've got with us, the better we can make that contract, so down the road we'll have better protection against shifts in the workplace.

With that in mind, I'd like you all to join me in welcoming ace photographer Hans Gutknecht to the union. As one of the paper's most lauded and respected staffers, his support will go a long way to making people recognize that we're a serious, powerful group now. He's a tough-minded, independent guy (as I know from the lengthy earfuls he's given me on politics and everything unions ought to do to adapt to the 21st century) and his membership will be a huge boost for everything we're trying to do.

So let me close now with a reminder that now, more than ever, we've got to stick up for each other. We're each other's safety lines, the ones who are going to keep this place going in those bad times and the good ones. And to nail that home, I'll finish with a line borrowed from John McCoy (who's got a great story to go along with it): Don't let the bastards get to you.

We're going to make it through this, just like we always do.

Thanks for everything,


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