MediaNews Group, headed by Dean Singleton, announced in an e-mail to employees today that it will no longer recognize the Guild as the representative of its workers at its offices in Alameda, Hayward, Fremont, Dublin, Danville, Tracy, Martinez, Livermore, Pleasanton, Oakland and San Mateo.
The Guild, in a letter by Chron writer and union official Carl Hall, called the move a “grave error. Your citing of numbers and percentages doesn’t mask what I consider to be a blatant attempt to destroy a 20-year tradition of progressive labor relations in the East Bay news industry.”
Hall told Marisa Lagos of the Chron: “They’re not going to get away with this … We’re going to fight this … the company thinks they can rub us out, but we’re going to be even stronger.”
MediaNews has combined its 170 non-union newsroom jobs at the Contra Costa Times with 130 union jobs at its ANG papers, which include the Oakland Tribune, San Mateo County Times, Hayward Daily Review, Fremont Argus and Pleasanton Tri-Valley Herald. Since most of the employees of the new combined Bay Area New Group-East Bay are not Guild members, the company no longer has to recognize the union, said Publisher John Armstrong in the e-mail. The Coco Times staffers generally make more than the unionized ANG employees.
“… We have carefully considered the impact of the consolidation on the Guild bargaining unit at the former ANG newspapers. That group now constitutes significantly less than 50% of the newly consolidated editorial group of BANG-East Bay,” Armstrong’s e-mail stated.
MediaNews has yet to combine the unionized Mercury News with its other Bay Area publication. Today’s move raises the question about whether the same thing will happen to the Merc’s Guild unit.