Stu Bykofsky’s Blog Suspended for Summer

Photos | Twitter

Photos | Twitter

A weekend blog post about immigration by Daily News columnist Stu Bykofsky was removed from Philly.com because it didn’t go through the correct editorial processes, editors at the newspaper said Monday.

Indeed, Bykofsky said Monday afternoon, his blog at Philly.com is being “discontinued for the summer” as punishment for his failure to adhere to those processes. He will continue to write a column for the Daily News print edition.

“When you break the law, there are consequences,” said Bykofsky, who has been a columnist at the paper since 1987. Read more »

Newspaper Guild Files Grievance Over “Dress Code”

Shutterstock.com

Shutterstock.com

Last week, the Newspaper Guild ratified a two-year contract with Philadelphia Media Network and it seemed a new era of labor peace might be at hand at the company that owns the Inquirer, Daily News, and Philly.com.

This week, they’re feuding again. Over clothes.

The Guild — which represents journalists, ad staffers, and other support staff at the newspapers — said Wednesday it had filed a labor grievance against the company — over a “dress code” on workers that union leaders said had been unfairly imposed by management. “We believe that institution of such a code, without discussion and without the grandfathering in of employees of who have repeatedly violated the alleged code for decades, would be a change in work rules that was not negotiated,” Bill Ross, the Guild’s executive director, said in a memorandum to members. “We believe such a move would be a mandatory subject of bargaining.”

Management at PMN declined comment. Read more »

Inquirer, Daily News Staffers Approve New Contract

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Shutterstock.com

Members of the Newspaper Guild on Monday night decisively approved a new contract that governs reporters, ad staffers and other support staffers at the Inquirer and Daily News.

“It was an overwhelming ratification vote,” said Bill Ross, the union’s executive director, of the 259-12 approval vote. “We think our membership is ready to make these newspapers and website the best they can be.” Read more »

No Strike: Newspaper Guild, PMN Reach Tentative Agreement

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Shutterstock.com

There will be no Philadelphia newspaper strike after all.

On Friday night — after an exhausting 11-hour negotiating session with a federal mediator, and 25 hours before their contract was set to expire — the Newspaper Guild and Philadelphia Media Network announced they had reached a “tentative agreement” on a two-year contract.

The Guild represents journalists, ad sales people, and other support staffers at Philadelphia Media Network, which owns the Inquirer, Daily News, and Philly.com. Read more »

Newspaper Strike Countdown: Scenes From Today’s Rally

Photos by Joel Mathis

Photos by Joel Mathis

Tick, tock.

Hundreds of Newspaper Guild members marched during a noontime rally Thursday at the Market Street office of Philadelphia Media Network, chanting demands for a fair contract as the clock ticked down on just more than two days left before the current work agreement expires. Read more »

PMN to Journalists: Here’s How You Can Cross Picket Lines

The Newspaper Guild has already printed picket signs in case of a possible strike.

The Newspaper Guild has already printed picket signs in case of a possible strike.

With a possible strike by the Newspaper Guild looming, Philadelphia Media Network today sent employees a memo apparently aimed at getting them — or at least a few of them — to stay on the job during a walkout.

Yes, you can keep working if a strike is called, said the memo from the company that owns the Inquirer, Daily News, and Philly.com. We’ll provide security and a safe way to report in to your managers. And if you’re worried about being fined by the Newspaper Guild for crossing the picket line — well, here’s a template for a letter you can send that exempts you from most responsibilities that come with union membership.

And, oh yeah, if you do walk out? Don’t necessarily expect to come back, ever. Read more »

Lenfest to Journalists: Newspapers Aren’t A Charity

lenfest  inquirer

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.”

Read more »

Newspaper Guild Plans Thursday Rally

The Newspaper Guild has already printed picket signs in case of a possible strike.

The Newspaper Guild has already printed picket signs in case of a possible strike.

Negotiations between Philadelphia Media Network and the Newspaper Guild are apparently going down to the wire.

The two sides reportedly for 11 hours with a federal mediator on Monday, but left appearing little closer to a deal. The current contract between the two sides expires this weekend, and the guild — which includes the journalists of the Inquirer, Daily News, and Philly.com, as well as members of the advertising, circulation and finance departments — could choose to strike at that time.

Before then, however, workers plan a lunchtime rally on Thursday outside PMN’s Market Street offices, with city and national labor leaders on hand to show their support. Read more »

(Update) Lenfest Vows to Publish If Journos Strike

Philanthropist H.G. "Gerry" Lenfest speak at a news conference after a closed-door auction to buy the The Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News Tuesday, May 27, 2014, in Philadelphia. Photo | AP, Matt Rourke

Philanthropist H.G. “Gerry” Lenfest speak at a news conference after a closed-door auction to buy the The Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News Tuesday, May 27, 2014, in Philadelphia. Photo | AP, Matt Rourke

(Updated at 7:08 p.m. with Newspaper Guild response.)

The man who owns the Inquirer, Daily News and Philly.com vowed Thursday to keep publishing if journalists and other workers at those organizations go on strike.

“In the event of a strike, we remain committed to continuing to operate both digitally and in print and will continue to take the steps necessary to address the significant economic challenges that face us and our industry,” Gerry Lenfest, the publisher and owner of Philadelphia Media Network, said in a memorandum distributed to PMN’s employees. Read more »

Newspaper Guild Votes to Begin Strike Preparations

Newspaper Guild leaders Regina Medina and Diane Mastrull, left, count paper ballots for strike authorization, while Bill Ross and Howard Gensler, right, tally up e-mailed votes. The action took place  Wednesday night on the 33rd floor of the Loews Hotel. (Picture: Joel Mathis)

Newspaper Guild leaders Regina Medina and Diane Mastrull, left, count paper ballots for strike authorization, while Bill Ross and Howard Gensler, right, tally up e-mailed votes. The action took place Wednesday night on the 33rd floor of the Loews Hotel. (Pictures: Joel Mathis)

The Newspaper Guild on Wednesday overwhelmingly voted to begin preparations for a strike against Philadelphia Media Network, the parent company of the Inquirer, Daily News, and Philly.com.

There were two votes — one by employees of the newspapers, and one by workers for Philly.com, who have a separate but similar contract with PMN. Neither vote was particularly close: 263-19 in favor of strike preparations by so-called “main unit” employees; 24-7 in favor by Philly.com workers. Sixty-nine percent of guild membership voted.

“It wasn’t unanimous,” said Howard Gensler, the guild’s president and a gossip columnist for the Daily News, “but it was a very strong, supportive vote we hope sends a message to the company we’re not fooling around.” Read more »

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