Merry Christmas to the Men and Women of GCC/IBT Local 140-N and your families, wishing that your holidays are safe and memorable.
Christmas is a time of giving and when one of our own was in need, many of you dug deep and gave without hesitation. I am never amazed to witness the generosity displayed by the men and women in our shops when finding out that a fellow pressperson is need.
Between the L.A. and O.C. shops, $645.00 was raised in two days for our brother and his family. Our brother expressed his most sincere appreciation and gratitude when given this Christmas blessing. I was literally choked up, along with several other brothers when placing your generous Christmas gift in his hand. This made Christmas extra special for me and I will always remember this occassion that was made possible by all of you, thank you!
You will all be blessed 10 fold for your compassion and Christmas Spirit. I am very proud to be a member of this brotherhood and honor all of you for caring about one another and by showing it in ways that are beyond compare.
Special thanks to James Abel, Maria Ramirez, Linard Williams, Chuck Reney, Paula Henley, David Martinez, Randy Lind, David Rascon, Charles Laird, Keith Denson, Ye Lung Fu, Ed Padgett, Darren Paugh, Richard Ontiveros and everyone else that contributed during these difficult times.
Anyone still wishing to contribute can do so until December 31st. Keith Denson and Chuck Reney will gladly accept your offering and forward your gift. Thank you in advance.
(We lost track of everyone that contributed because the cash came pouring in on the 24th and we wanted to deliver your gift on Christmas Eve. I apologize for not being able to post the names of all the contributors and give them the proper recognition that they deserve.)
U.S. Chamber of Commerce Elected 2009's National Scrooge of the Year
The Chamber's narrow, radical agenda advocating for anti-worker, profit-focused solutions to the broken health care, labor, and environmental systems garnered them the most votes for the national Jobs with Justice "Scrooge of the Year" award.
Thousands of votes were cast in the Jobs with Justice annual contest to determine which greedy, cold-hearted organization or person deserves the title "Scrooge of the Year." Voters chose the Chamber of Commerce as their winner this year as it's became increasingly clear that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has developed into a front group for a few narrow interests, not a membership association that represents the voice of mainstream American businesses. The Chamber has spent millions of dollars lobbying against legislation that would benefit workers and families like the Employee Free Choice Act, health insurance reform, paid sick days, and environmental regulations. Their extreme positions have led some companies and local chapters of the Chamber to disaffiliate from the national group.
This year's Scrooge contest pitted the Chamber of Commerce against Bank of America, nominated for their role in the sub-prime lending crisis and failure to extend credit to small businesses, Hyatt Hotels for their Scrooge-like firing of 100 housekeepers in Boston and other anti-worker actions, Publix Supermarkets for their resisting the call to be part of the solution to human rights violations in Florida fields by continuing to buy tomatoes from growers prosecuted for modern-day slavery, and student loan lenders Sallie Mae and Citibank for their expensive, variable rate loans for students. An impressive write-in campaign was also waged for United Airlines, for their slashing of workers' wages and pensions while continuing to award lavish bonuses to top executives.
"There was plenty of competition for the award this year," said Jobs with Justice Executive Director Sarita Gupta, "but the similarities between Scrooge and the Chamber of Commerce were hard to beat. The ghost of years past would show that the policies they've promoted including deregulation and maximizing profits at the expense of workers are directly connected to the destruction of America's middle class."
Throughout the country, many people remain unemployed and more are working harder and longer than ever before to make ends meet, as highlighted in our recently released report examining the impact of the economic crisis on working people. Over the holidays and in the coming weeks, Jobs with Justice will begin a campaign to engage working people in the fight for the creation of a national jobs program.
"We fully expect the Chamber of Commerce to come out in opposition to our demand for good paying and family sustaining jobs," said Gupta, "but we will not cede this moment nor shy away from this fight. The ghost of future years will show that in this time of crisis, it was our efforts that helped put people back to work."
I was in contact with the Attorney representing the editorial employees early in this suit to seek inclusion of our shop employees because that was our pension money as well. The Attorney stated that a judge would determine who would be included in this suit, which legally should be a "Class Action" representing everyone employed at the time, including retirees drawing benefits from the pension. I will contact the Attorney's office once again to insure that we are included in any class action suit related to this case.
It seems The Blogging Pressman, AKA, Ed Padgett, has a lot of people wondering what is really going to happen at the Orange County Facility in the quickly approaching future. It has been rumored that the O.C. plant would close for quite some time now, to which management always denies any plans to do so at the time, when asked.
Anyone still having in their possession, the DVD management mailed to our homes during our organizing campaign, can view former Publisher David Hiller attempting to reassure employees that O.C. was to remain in operation. Was this statement the truth or an attempt to influence pressroom union voters? I seem to remember former SVP of Operations, Mark Kurtich making the same comment to Northridge employees prior to the closing of their facility. Arrive at your own conclusion.
I can tell you based on personal conversations Exec. Vice President Keith Denson and I have had with Newton, Walker and Bugarin, that they claim to have no knowledge of any new products coming to Orange County. I specifically asked about the Orange County Register and was told by Russ, "that door is closed". Russ also stated that the owners of the O.C. Register would never have their paper printed by "UNION" workers! I proceeded to inquire about possibly printing The San Diego Union Tribune, and his response was, " I can't talk about that"
Any plans that the company may be preparing to implement will not be divulged to the workforce and we should not expect management to consider our interests in any current plans they may be considering at this time as history has proven time and time again.
Management is continually looking for ways to increase savings and profits and they ultimately result in job losses, so if O.C does indeed close, it is quite likely that jobs will be slated for cuts in the closure plans. Whatever management plans are, if their actions violate our members rights under the Law and/or our Collective Bargaining Agreement, the Union will defend those rights.
According to our election certification from the N.L.R.B. any work printed in the L.A. and O.C. facilities fall under our jurisdiction, as we represent those employed by the L.A. Times at these facilities. Any arrangements to sell the O.C. Facility and enter into agreements with another entity to print products currently being printed by L.A. Times Presspersons, (as well as products that mgt. may currently be in negotiations to print at these locations), and not have our members print these products, would be done intentionally to undermine the contract we have with the company.
We must always be prepared and diligent when it comes to defending our rights under the contract and always remember that management is not interested in how their decisions affect you or your families, so if there is any truth to these rumors, I know what I'm going to do, what are you going to do? Get involved or accept managements decisions because they've always known what is best for you and your family........right?
Friday, December 11, 2009 Pfaffinger Foundation for LA Times Employees
This just in from the CEO of the Pfaffinger Foundation Stephen C. Meier:
Dear Ed Padgett,
I’m writing you in the hopes that you can get some of the following information about Pfaffinger Foundation on the Pressmen’s website.The Pfaffinger Foundation was established in part to help Times employees, former employees, and their families. While we were once well known by just about everyone at The Times, we are concerned that many current and former Times employees no longer think of Pfaffinger when they experience financial difficulties. In 2008, we assisted 236 Los Angeles Times employees, former employees and retirees. Our numbers are down in 2009, which is troubling to us.
Among the ways Pfaffinger is assisting employees and former employees:1. Paying some or all of COBRA payments if the individual is unable to do so.2. Making a limited number of rent or mortgage payments while the family restructures its finances.3. Arranging for financial counseling at no cost.4. Assisting with medical bills not covered by insurance (and sometimes we are able to negotiate a reduction with the provider as well). We can also assist with a variety of other bills (e.g. utilities).
The way to access Pfaffinger services is to call us at (213) 680-7460. We do not have a website because our first step with an inquiry is to determine eligibility, and we do this on a case-by-case basis in conversation with the applicant. We are also happy to mail out a brochure.Every applicant works with a professional case manager and is guided through the application process. Client information is totally confidential. Of course, approval is not automatic and we are not a “benefit.” In fact, we are totally independent of The Times and Tribune.
I hope this information is of interest to you and I would like to discuss with you how it might be shared with your members.Please feel free to e-mail me or call at (213) 680-7467.
Thanks,Steve MeierStephen C. MeierChairman and CEOPfaffinger Foundation316 W. 2nd St., Suite PH-C Los Angeles, CA 90012Tel: (213) 680-7467Fax: (213) 680-7474
Wednesday, December 09, 2009 By Ann Belser, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
On the first day of the newspaper strike against The Pittsburgh Press in 1992, the words of John T. "Sonny" Shannon Jr. proved prophetic. "We'll watch this paper die," he shouted to the crowd of strikers outside of the newspaper office Downtown.
Mr. Shannon, who graduated high school and followed his father and uncles into the press room at The Pittsburgh Press in 1968, was president of the pressmen's local when the drivers at the paper initiated the strike. In that role, he found himself leading the charge that ultimately drove the The E.W. Scripps Co., the corporate owner of The Pittsburgh Press, out of Pittsburgh.
Mr. Shannon died Monday afternoon in his home in Brighton Heights from throat cancer. He was 59.
He was known as a tough negotiator. During the Press strike of 1992, he swore the unions would not fold, and they didn't. "The company underestimated us," said Mr. Shannon's brother, Patrick Shannon of Ross, who was the business agent for the pressman's union at the time.
Jack Shea, the executive director of the Allegheny County Labor Council, said Mr. Shannon cared deeply not just about the members of his union, but about everyone involved in a labor battle.
After months of failed negotiations with Scripps, Mr. Shea noted that the Block family -- the owners of Block Communications Inc., which bought The Press and folded it into the Post-Gazette -- was able to sit down and negotiate a contract with all of the unions in 30 days.
John Robinson Block, the publisher of the Post-Gazette, told a story of those negotiations, which were being conducted in a local hotel. The company's negotiators were working just about around the clock going from meetings with one union to the next. At one point, Mr. Shannon and the team from the pressmen's union were told they would have to wait for a bit after their scheduled time because negotiations were wrapping up with another group.Mr. Shannon and his team waited in the hotel bar and then had to reschedule those negotiations themselves."He was an effective leader of the pressmen's union and diligently advocated their interests," Mr. Block said.
After newspaper strike ended in January 1993, Mr. Shannon's talents were recognized by the international union, the Graphics Communications Conference/International Brotherhood of Teamsters, which hired him as a negotiator. Though the union is based out of Washington D.C., Mr. Shannon still lived in Pittsburgh.In his new role, he sat across the table from the management of newspapers across the country.
His brother, Patrick Shannon, said there was never another strike like the Press strike because, in that case, it was a matter of workers fighting corporate greed. In recent years, it was Mr. Shannon's duty to tell union members that their companies were losing money. Despite having been diagnosed with cancer last year, Mr. Shannon was able to work up until just a couple of months ago, representing workers at bargaining tables.
In addition to his brother, he is survived by his wife, Loren Renee; one son, Jack of Brighton Heights; a daughter, Sonny Leigh of Brighton Heights; his brother, Michael of Mars; two sisters, Charlotte of Hampton and Jacquelyn Boggs of Schenley; two grandsons and two granddaughters.
Visitation will be 2 to 9 p.m. tomorrow at T.B. Devlin Funeral Home, 806 Perry Highway, Ross. A funeral Mass will be celebrated at 9:30 Friday at St. Peter Church, 720 Arch St., North Side. Burial will be in North Side Catholic Cemetery in Ross.
Memorial contributions can be made to the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute Medical and Health Sciences Foundation, 200 Lothrop St., Suite 8084, Pittsburgh, PA 15213.
It is with immense sadness to announce that GCC/IBT International Representative John "Sonny" Shannon passed away yesterday evening. Brother Shannon was diagnosed with and treated for throat cancer prior to joining our contract negotiations back in November 2007.
Once assigned to our negotiations, Sonny, along with the negotiating committee worked in earnest to negotiate a first contract that would provide a foundation to build upon.
In the face of numerous obstacles such as Tribune's internal strife, mgts. negotiation tactics, the decline of the industry,the economy, and Tribune filing Bankruptcy, I believe Sonny did just that and will honor his memory for his contribution.
Sonny was cut from the same cloth as those of you that stand up for what you believe in, because he himself was a pressman.
Sonny is survived by his wife, children and grandchildren.