Chicago Tribune journalists feel the News Guild union
has hung them out to dry as they enter buyout negotiations with new owner Alden Global Capital.
The NewsGuild has “abandoned Chicago Tribune journalists in the middle of talks with (the Tribune owner) over buyouts,” reporter Todd Lighty tweeted. “The News Guild lacks the resources and talent to fully represent us and all the newly unionized newsrooms.”
However, Lightty adds: “We will not give up and will fight on without national support.”
The flap comes just as newsroom staffers are deciding whether to accept buyouts or face layoffs.
Alden, which is known for cutting staff, offered buyouts to Tribune Publishing newsroom employees two days after it acquired the company. The basic offer includes 12 weeks of pay for eligible employees with three or more years of service and eight weeks for those with less.
Gregory Pratt, the president of the Chicago Tribune chapter of the NewsGuild, said in a memo: “The guild has abandoned us and left us without representation at the bargaining table to punish us for a local decision,” according to The Hill, which broke the story.
The problem concerned the structure of the negotiation team. The local negotiators were removed, The Hill notes, quoting labor reporter Mike Elk.
Tribune Publishing shareholders approved Alden’s $633 million offer on May 21. The deal included The Chicago Tribune, New York Daily News, Baltimore Sun, Hartford Courant; the Orlando Sentinel the South Florida Sun Sentinel, the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Maryland; The Morning Call in Allentown, Pennsylvania; the Daily Press in Newport News, Virginia; and the Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk, Virginia.