Guild delivers petition, legal notice to Tim Knight

Dressed in black for mourning approximately 30 photojournalists (including 20 Guild members) who were unlawfully laid off, more than 20 Guild members led by Chicago Newspaper Guild President David Pollard and CNG Treasurer David Roeder marched into the reception area of Timothy Knight’s office Monday morning.

The goal was to hand-deliver a petition demanding that Sun-Times CEO Timothy Knight join the Guild at the bargaining table. The vast majority of the Guild’s membership signed the petition.

The goal was also to serve Knight with legal notice that he/the company violated federal law because 20 Guild members were laid off after the company represented at the bargaining table that there would not be any more lay-offs among photographers and reporters.

Knight was “too busy” to meet with the Guild who filed into his office Monday, June 3. Instead, a security member and his secretary took a message and politely asked us to leave.

“We asked Mr. Knight to come to the bargaining table because we’ve exhausted all the options. We’ve met with the same group of Sun-Times Media representatives and we cannot move forward. We need to talk to someone else—there’s something wrong and the guy in charge needs to figure it out,” Pollard said.

The Guild began contract negotiations in August 2012. The action to bring the petition and legal paperwork showed that we are standing up for our members, “especially those who were let go last week,” Roeder said.

“We believe the action really affects the integrity of the Sun-Times. Laying off the photographers just removes a whole side of our editorial product and it’s such an important part of the product, especially for a tabloid newspaper and online applications,” Roeder said.

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4 Responses to Guild delivers petition, legal notice to Tim Knight

  1. Rose says:

    Craig, I get the impression that the Hockstedt comment originated from somewhere in the Sun-Times administration to further demoralize loyal staffers. I like the way you took him/them on. It would be nice if Ferro and Knight emerged from the “crack of doom” to save their dying company.

  2. Simone says:

    Give it up, Craig. The guild is washed up. It has been washed up for five years. You screwed up by insisting union staff accept the MOU and its heinous concessions. Yet, the union took no cut… The payment was still the same to the union. No one takes you seriously. Ferro and Knight laugh at you. Personally, I’m sick of your talk with no action. We’d all be better off with NO union. You’ve protected no one. You’re a leech just like our employers.

    • admin says:

      Dear Mr. Hockstedt:

      The Guild is a democratic institution and as a member (if you in fact are), you have a right to voice your opinion about the Executive Director/General Counsel (me) who your union dues pay.

      However, I would like to please respond to your comments:

      I never insisted that the staff accept the MOU. I was part of Guild staff at the time which recommended that the editorial employees accept the MOU. The Guild had a seat on the creditors committee in bankruptcy. Based on the information at the time, it was our staff’s belief that Jim Tyree and his investors would have walked away and all properties of the Sun-Times Media Group would have closed its doors, and all employees would be out of a job. Remember it was the membership at all Guild covered properties that overwhelmingly ratified the MOU. The Guild staff did not vote on the MOU.

      You also said that the union took no cut. That is not true. Prior to the bankruptcy the Chicago local had three full-time staff positions. We now only have two full-time staff positions. I essentially am doing two jobs as Executive Director and General Counsel and I have not had a salary increase in four and a half years. And by the way – I don’t get overtime for the sixty or more hours a week I work, and have no time to take most of my vacation.

      You state that Ferro and Knight laugh at me. Well I have never met Ferro and I only talked to Knight once in my life – last July. If you know Knight and Ferro so well that they told you I make them laugh, then you should convince them to come to the bargaining table.

      You say that you are sick of my talk with no action. Just look at what you and your colleagues did yesterday with our informational picketing. That is the first of many actions to come. What about the fact that the Guild was able to bring back our business writers into the bargaining unit?

      I just want to let you know that I am not the union. You and your fellow employees are the union. The union is not a vending machine where you pay dues and staff like me does all the work. You are part of a union because together you and your colleagues can build power for better wages and working conditions. Guild-covered employees make significantly more money and have better benefits than non-Guild employees. It is my job to work with you and your colleagues to build that power, and to enforce your contract.

      Frankly, I like and appreciate your anger. But instead of directing it at me, I propose that you call me on the phone and we discuss ways that you can work with one of our committees to build power and get you and your colleagues a fair contract. So Simone, please call me at 312-373-7143. In my fourteen years of experience with the Chicago Newspaper Guild, some of the best Guild members were once angry and disgruntled members like you. I look forward to hearing from you. I’m serious – call me.

      In solidarity,

      Craig Rosenbaum
      Executive Director
      Chicago Newspaper Guild

  3. Galahad says:

    The only action this soulless, greedy corporate goon understands is force. Rise up and pound on his door. Kick it down, if you must. When you see the whites of his eyes, lay down the law in terms this bounder understands. The union and especially the abused, demoralized employees, have been far too nice and far too diplomatic. Time for some cussing and swearing. Pretend we’re Teamsters…

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