May 7, 2008 E-MAIL PRINT

President's Report

President's Report
Board of Directors Meeting
May 3, 2008


Just about three years ago, we launched an effort to change IAPE — to make our union more responsive to the membership, improve communications, expand rank-and-file participation and restore accountability and transparency to IAPE finances.

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I think we've made some progress — but I also think we've fallen short of our goals — and we've suffered some bitter disappointments. Many of which stem directly from the 6 billion dollar Rupert Murdoch takeover: a bid we couldn't stop.

For me, personally, those failures are a heavy burden — and, frankly, the cause of more than a few sleepless nights.

The months ahead are going to be a challenge.

This is when the job that each member of the IAPE leadership gets tough.

Dow Jones is going through a painful transition as its absorbed by News Corp. The old attitudes — maddening as they might have been at times — are being replaced with a new attitude: a News Corp philosophy that is often worse.

Our job is to build a union — and, apparently, to do it while under assault.

There's not much glamour or excitement in fighting grievances and going to arbitration — or battling the company over job classifications — or endlessly fighting for simple common sense and decent treatment for our folks on the job. But that's where we are right now.

Dow Jones is cutting jobs — and we need to ensure that the contract is followed, that every one gets what they're entitled to and that the rules of seniority and job protection, which we've defended for years, are honored. And when they're not, we have to take the company to task.

The same holds true with the expected shift of our folks from Harborside to Manhattan: we have to engage the company in the "effects bargaining" that will address the disruption in their lives.

We have to defend the rights of reporters to write their books without being extorted by the company to kick back a chunk of money.

We have to fight — again and again — the issue of premium pay for techs on stand-by.

We have to continue arguing for more money for those forced to go well beyond expectations: whether doing podcasts and videos or being forced to write for the new glossy that News Corp is planning.

We have to continue to fight what seems to be a never-ending battle in sales to hold middle managers to the terms of the contract — and protect our people from the bullies and incompetents.

All of these fights — and the scores of others that we'll be forced to wage — are private — almost solitary campaigns for individuals. Unnoticed by anyone not directly involved.

Far too often it seems like techs don't care about reporters and their book deals, reporters don't care about sales reps being badgered by petty bosses, sales reps don't care about whether techs get premium pay for that Saturday night call, customer service doesn't care about the printing plants and the guys in the printing plants don't care about under-staffed and over-worked support people crunching the numbers and churning out the financial reports.

But we have to care about every one of those fights — because each and every one is essential to building a union that can fight for all of us.

We have to work right now on every one of these issues — every day — because each is a critical building block in the next round of contract bargaining.

That is the real job we have before us.

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