The NewsGuild of Greater Philadelphia

We’re not in business with anyone

October 30, 2013billrossInquirer

In a cleverly-worded Dan Fee press release today, the majority ownership group of Interstate General Media offered $29 million to buy out the interests of the minority ownership group. The release went on to say that the new ownership group, led by George Norcross III,
“… will seek to have as our partners in this effort the newspaper Guild, which represents staff members at the Inquirer, Daily News and  We believe it is good for the company to have the interests of its leaders and professionals workers aligned.  We are pleased that in their public comments, the Guild has recognized that our majority ownership group not only better understands the operations of the company, but that we have a clear path forward.”
While the Guild has long agreed that our having a seat at the table and aligning our interests with the company’s “leaders,” would absolutely be good for the company, we have made no agreement to enter into business with the majority partners. We have spoken to both the Norcross group and the Lewis Katz-Gerry Lenfest group about taking a possible ownership stake in the company once it becomes clear what the new ownership group will be, but we are not taking sides in this fight even though we are now being wooed as allies by the very same owners who hit us up for $6 million in givebacks eight months ago.
As both warring factions of owners have recently become so fond of us and pledged their desire to bring us on board to help move this company forward, if they can agree on anything perhaps they can agree that there’s no reason to wait. We’re here and eager to broker a deal to  end this stalemate.
Lastly, there seems to be some concern among Guild members that should the Guild at some point in the future take an ownership stake in the company, that pension or health care funds might be put at risk. We want all Guild members to understand that those funds are managed by layers of investment professionals who have a fiduciary responsibility to the funds and that there are fund safeguards prohibiting investment of more than 5 percent in any one holding. Additionally, such an investment would be subject to the approval of the executive board and the membership and we’re confident would lead to an evening of vigorous debate.
In solidarity,
Bill Ross, Executive Director
Howard Gensler, President
The Executive Board of the Newspaper Guild, Local-10