A letter to our members from Tim O’Brien

Dear colleagues:

I want to share with you an important fact I learned this week. We all know about the turmoil in the newspaper industry across the country, and we know it has had an impact at the Times Union. But at no other unionized newspaper in America is the ownership demanding workers give up any and all protections against outsourcing.

Let me repeat that: At no other unionized newspaper in America are workers being asked to let the Company lay them off and outsource their jobs.

Last night, Channel 10 news quoted Publisher George Hearst as saying the other unions in the plant had agreed to similar contracts. The other unions agreed to money-saving concessions, as we have offered to do, but no other union in the plant agreed to give up all seniority protections and no other union in the plant has agreed to give the company the power to outsource any and all jobs. Not one.

The bottom line: What the Company is demanding from you is unprecedented nationally and at the Times Union. That’s a fact you won’t be reading in one of George Hearst’s Friday evening e-mails.

In Brockton, Mass., when the Company there gained some ability to outsource work, it eliminated all the district manager’s jobs. All of them. Here at the Times Union, you could ask a driver about the exception made that allowed their jobs to be outsourced. The only problem is: You won’t be able to find one. All their jobs were outsourced. All of them.

This is why we have launched an unprecedented public education campaign with considerable assistance from the CWA. And the response is tremendous. Every day, we are getting calls offering assistance. If you look at the City Brights page at, you’ll see many community leaders speaking out on our behalf.

On Sunday, June 14, we will vote on the Company’s proposal. You must be present to vote. There are no absentee ballots. The reason is simple: We need to talk. We need to listen. You need to hear what your colleagues have to say. We know some of you may have other plans. Change them. (Trust me, my family knows all about sudden changes of plans caused by the situation we face.) If you’re working, we’ve asked the Company to allow you to come and participate.

This battle will not be won by the bargaining committee or the mobilizing committee. It will require each of us to be as active as possible, to be as outspoken as possible. If you’re concerned about your job being subject to outsourcing, as many of you have told me you are, then please go share your concerns with someone who works in an area who thinks they are ‘safe.’  (In reality, none of us would be safe.)

We are all in this together, and the community is behind us. If we stay together, there is nothing to fear.

Thank you. See you June 14.


One Comment

  • Mike Jarboe

    Well said, Tim. Apparently, we are dealing with a corporate culture that does not care about either its workers or the community. And yes, that’s right…I said the community. If it cared about the community, it would not be positioning the Times Union to deliver an inferior, outsourced newspaper.

    Let’s ALL send a message here.

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