Gerry Lenfest may be one of Philly’s foremost philanthropists, but he’s not going to treat the newspapers he owns like a charity.
That was the message Lenfest, owner of Philadelphia Media Network — which owns the Inquirer, Daily News and Philly.com — sent to employees this morning as negotiations continue between PMN and the Newspaper Guild race toward this weekend’s expiration of the contract between the two.
“I have given substantial donations over the years to charitable institutions,” Lenfest wrote in a memo emailed to all of the company’s employees. “PMN is not a charity but rather it is a business, and as such it must be self-sustainable.”
The Guild’s leadership shot back in a memo of its own:
“For us, this company has been a charity. We have lost our pension. We haven’t had a raise in six years. In fact, we have given back raises. We have paid more for health care because the company has not increased its contribution in 15 years,” they wrote, and added: “The company negotiators do not appreciate these sacrifices. They won’t even acknowledge them.”