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Thursday, Sept. 20, 2012 01:49 pm

UNION BAD, GATEHOUSE GOOD

Since acquiring the State Journal-Register five years ago, GateHouse Media has eliminated the newsroom copy desk, ceased printing operations, outsourced jobs overseas, put its building up for sale and instituted a wage freeze.

How much worse could things get? A lot, says management, if newsroom employees vote to establish a union.

A newsroom election conducted under the auspices of the National Labor Relations Board has been set for Oct. 12, and GateHouse in a flier distributed to employees this week warned that bad things could happen if they vote to form a union. Wages, holidays, sick days, disability coverage, working conditions – everything that the company now controls would be up for negotiation, the company says in the flier.

“You have absolutely no guarantee that the final deal would be as good as the one you have right now,” the flier reads. “Know the facts and vote no on Oct. 12.”

Veteran reporter Dean Olsen, who has helped with organizing efforts, said the flier put in employee mail slots on Tuesday was management’s first formal response to the unionization effort. He called the response “expected” and said that organizers look forward to the election.

“I’m fairly confident we’ll vote to organize,” Olsen said.
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