Monday, February 15, 2010

Day 177 - "We Shall Not Be Moved"

I felt like this should be a separate post because it's different in nature and sympathies.

A recent Poynter update announced that reporters at the Akron Beacon Journal, which is basically my hometown newspaper, have authorized a strike if the Guild (their union) and the publisher don't come to an agreement over their upcoming contract.  The publisher is asking that employees take a 16.75% pay cut and additional cuts in benefits, which amounts to a 25-30% cut in income and benefits.  The Guild just wants a fair contract, and to me losing 30% of one's income and benefits is a little bit of a stretch.

I was talking with someone about this the other day, and they suggested that, well, if the writers went on strike I could get a temporary job with the Beacon until this is all resolved.   Uuuuuuhhhhhhhhhhhh....

As much as I would love to work in a newsroom again - even for a couple of days or weeks - it's a matter of principle to me.  If I were a teacher and a member of a teacher's union, would I want to cross a picket line of my colleagues who are simply asking for enough to live off of?  Teachers and journalists don't make that much money to begin with, so that large of a pay cut and benefits hurts.  Badly.

Like I said in the conversation, it's not a matter of putting another line on my resume, but it's a matter of taking pride and standing up for my colleagues in the media.  Enough journalists and writers have lost their jobs and a large portion of their livelihood in order to keep a newspaper afloat.  But, with the Beacon Journal having more Pulitzer Prizes than every other paper in the state of Ohio besides one, the publisher needs to realize that quality comes with a price, and those who are going to produce Pulitzer-worthy work are going to have to be compensated appropriately for it.

To top it off, I couldn't be proud of that line on my resume.  I couldn't enjoy going to work every day while people were out there fighting for what they believed is appropriate and right.  It goes against what I believe in and what I stand for, and if it means going without a newspaper for a little while, then so be it.

I'm taking a stand - if you want to continue to deliver quality, appropriate news, then pay the people justly!


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