May Lee Enterprises Rot In Hell, Too

Demanding reporters take a 23 percent pay cut:

Lee Enterprises wants Newspaper Guild-represented
employees at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch to take a 23% pay cut over the
course of a new three-year contract, according to the union.

In an article posted on its Web site, the St. Louis
Newspaper Guild says the management proposal would cut wages 15% the
first year, followed by smaller cuts in each of the next two years. Lee
as a matter of policy does not comment on labor negotiations.

“The company also proposed contract changes that would
allow them to lay off employees for any reason and without regard to
seniority,” the article stated. “The company wants the right to suspend
employees for up to three days without ‘just cause’ or recourse through
the grievance procedure.”

Those are among the most dramatic of the sweeping contractual changes Lee is seeking, according to the Guild.

In addition, the management proposal would eliminate
paid maternal leave, and limit unpaid maternal leave to a maximum of 12
weeks, half the current maximum. Photographers would lose a share of
the sale of reprints, and access to company vehicles, according to
union. Lee is also asking the union to agree that a person on sick
leave can be fired after three months. The current contract gives
management that right after 18 months.

Because of the Internet, right? RIGHT???!!

While Lee is in a distinctly unpleasant position with respect to its
shareholders and lenders, it is important to note that the business
generated $207.2 million in operating profits last year on sales of a
bit more than $1 billion. Its operating margin of 20.1% surpasses that
of Exxon Mobil Corp., which generated a 19.1% margin in the last 12
months. And Lee’s profitability positively blows away Wal-Mart, the
largest Fortune 500 company, whose margins were only 7.4% in the prior
12 months.

God almighty. The dishonesty of this conversation is staggering. Next week I’m going to two conferences/panels on the future of journalism, one here andone here [yes, I know the link to their own journalism survival discussion is broken, we’ve notified them, I include it as illustration], and hopefully they won’t both make my head explode.


7 thoughts on “May Lee Enterprises Rot In Hell, Too

  1. I live in NE Missouri. The ST L Post a few months back cut delivery to areas outside of St L. As I understand it, these were profit making routes.
    Of course, the path to economic viability is to cut off your subscribers. If you keep delivering the paper, they won’t be forced to go to the Internet.

  2. Apparently these bastards didn’t get the memo that greed is bad. When is enough ever enough for these corporate fuckers?
    It takes some brass balls to pull this crap when they’re that profitable.

  3. It would be nice of at some of these conferences instead of the journalists attending they had some of the senior management attend or some sales people or distribution people.
    “Hey Mr. Senior Management guy, you made 20 percent in net profits last year and still you decided to cut staff. Why?”
    Hey Mr. Sales guy what are you hearing from your customers. How do you overcome their objections?
    Hey Mr. distribution guy what’s the deal with not getting your paper in the hands of the people?

  4. I live in St. Louis and that makes me want to puke. I have a friend that is a tv journalist. I just emailed her a link to this post, in the hopes that she will take this story and run with it. Pulitzer is rolling over in his grave.

  5. Thank you for this post.
    I am going to save it and expect to it to pop up anytime anyone mentions print media, big time papers, poor unemployed newspaper workers, benefits, vacation or exploitation.
    Anyone who works for shit like these deserve exactly what they get – bend over and grease it up. Beginning to understand capitalism? Beginning to understand unions? Don’t sweat it, in five years there will fifty applications for “greeters” at any Walmart.

  6. Why did you post, “Beginning to understand unions?” This is management greed, right? Or, are you saying unions are to blame for this?

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