Sunday, December 03, 2006

Support "Black Monday" for San Jose on Dec. 4th

Hey Guys,

Tomorrow, Dec. 4th, our coworkers in San Jose are going to experience one of the cruelest, most terrible ways to ring in the holiday season that I can imagine. MediaNews, after purchasing the Mercury News as an industry leader and supposed jewel of its California empire, will begin gutting its staff with up to 69 layoffs of union positions.

Some of you mentioned the posting that made LA Observed on Friday, which can be linked to here: As if it weren't bad enough that they're cutting these people's jobs right before Christmas, they're forcing the entire staff to stay home and await phone calls to tell them whether they'll come in to work or whether they'll be allowed to clean out their desks on a weekend.

If there were a textbook called "How to Kill Employee Morale," this would be a featured lesson. Our layoffs a few weeks ago were terrible, make no mistake, but there was at least an attempt to minimize the cuts and to take care of the affected people. This is an awful reminder that no matter how things are going for us -- and they could certainly stand to be a lot better, don't get me wrong-- that this corporation is not afraid to employ ruthless, soul-less plans to achieve its financial goals. And that in times like this, we have to rely on each other for support.

With that in mind, I hope you'll join in this call for unity with our friends to the north that I've attached below. Tomorrow, Monday, Dec. 4th, workers at other papers across the state and elsewhere in the country will be wearing black clothes and armbands to show the people who're getting laid off and those who'll be left endure a stripped-down operation that we haven't forgotten them.

These are the same people who've helped us look for jobs for our own laid-off employees. We've met them in other newsrooms, competed with them on beats, run into them at holiday parties, known them from college. They're in the same shoes we were six weeks ago, only their predicament is much worse. So if you've got a black shirt, black pants, black hat, anything that you can wear tomorrow, we can send them a message that they're not alone.

Whether you're a union member or not, please consider this request-- these people have been there for us, now this is the least we can do to show them the same respect. Thank you, as always. You guys have made the last six weeks a lot easier to stomach, so keep up that good work.


forwarded message below:

November 29, 2006

Wear black to support
San Jose Guild members
on Monday, December 4

Dear Minnesota Guild members,

I've attached a message below that was forwarded to us yesterday by Luther
Jackson, administrative officer of the San Jose Newspaper Guild. Leaders of
that local have been working non-stop to prepare for as many as 69 layoffs
that are to occur at the MediaNews-owned San Jose Mercury News next week;
more Guild jobs are expected to lost to outsourcing in the spring. You can
learn more by visiting the local's website at

In a demonstration scheduled for Monday, December 4, Guild members in San
Jose will be wearing black to show their support for co-workers who will
lose their jobs. We're asking that Minnesota Guild members at the Star
Tribune and the Pioneer Press show their support for and solidarity with our
brothers and sisters in San Jose by wearing black, too, on Monday, December

Monday's event will be a prelude to a national day of action scheduled one
week later on Monday, December 11, about which you'll be hearing more from
your unit leaders in the coming days. To learn more about actions planned
for that date, please visit

Thanks in advance for wearing black on December 4 to support laid off
workers in San Jose.

Darren Carroll
Executive officer
Minnesota Newspaper Guild


>>> "Luther Jackson"> 11/28/2006 12:02 PM >>

Next week, the Mercury News will tell as many as 69 Guild members they will
be out of a job by December 19.

Personally and professionally, we will miss each of them. They have been
friends and coworkers who have helped make the Merc an outstanding paper and
a special place at which to work. They and those of us remaining, who will
be expected to do their jobs, as well as our own, deserve better.

Out of respect for them, your leadership at the Guild is asking all members
to wear black to work on Monday, December 4. Doing so will be both a
tribute to them and a silent, important show of unity. This solidarity
action will also show our concerns about the impact of job cuts on quality
and customer service.

These are difficult times for the Mercury News and for our union. It is
critical that we stand behind members of our bargaining team as they
negotiate to protect us from carte blanche consolidation that would put all
of our jobs at risk.

Wearing black will signal that they have our confidence and support.

If black isn't your style, we will have black armbands for you. Your
mobilizer should be in contact with you this week.

We also have plenty of Save the Merc bumper stickers, which we encourage you
to put on our car or hand to a friend of the Merc.


John Fensterwald (editorial)
Bill Russell (advertising)
Co-Chairs, Guild Strategy/Community Outreach Committee

Luther Jackson
Executive Officer, San Jose Newspaper Guild
TNG/CWA Local 39098


Anonymous Ken Doctor said...

I think the reading public is failing to grasp the significance of the job cutbacks, and the experience lost in newsroom layoffs. As both negotiations with newspaper owners and public events go forward, there have to better ways found of showing what fewer, experienced journalists means. And of "showing" readers the news they won't get.

11:39 AM  

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