The NewsGuild of Greater Philadelphia


January 15, 2020billrossGuild News, Inquirer


Dear Friends,

This month a year ago, the Guild lost trust in Inquirer Publisher Terry Egger after he misled us in what we thought were sincere talks about a mid-contract pay raise. Turns out our talks were just stalling tactics until the Company reached a contract deal with the Teamsters.
Then came the answer Egger fully intended to give the Guild from the start: No.
The rest is history, plastered in poster form at almost every Guild work station and on oversize tote boards that have tracked the number of days since an across-the-board raise was given to ALL 320 Guild members in the newsroom, advertising, finance and circulation.
That total as of today: 3,811.
Presumably, the publisher appointed Tuesday to succeed Egger has caught a glimpse of that growing sickening tally on her way through 801 Market and is as disturbed and embarrassed as we all are.
As the Guild and Company representatives return to the bargaining table today, I hope what the work there yields truly adheres to The Inquirer’s relatively new mandate as a “public benefit corporation.” That designation means the company must have public interest as a core part of its mission. I would argue taking care of its own employees — and their ability to make student loan payments, buy houses, pay medical bills, generally keep up with life’s rising costs — qualifies as a public interest.
For without them, the journalism, business support, and customer service that Egger, Hughes and our nonprofit owner, The Lenfest Institute, say we owe the Philadelphia region cannot happen.
So, to the first woman to head this 190-year-institution, the woman president of The Inquirer’s largest union offers this challenge:
Let’s really make history by swiftly reaching a collective bargaining agreement that provides regular cost of living increases to all, continues the progress made in recent years to eliminate appalling pay inequities, and demonstrate a credible commitment to diversity within our ranks and in our journalism coverage.
Then, Lisa, perhaps you and I can take down the posters and tote boards together.
In solidarity and hope,