Blade union to vote to authorize strike, hold protest rallyWritten by Zach Davis | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Toledo Newspaper Guild Administrative Officer Lillian Covarrubias wrote in a letter to guild members on May 15 that a Blade employee strike authorization vote will take place on May 16 from 12-5 p.m.
Covarrubias added that guild members, their family and friends were invited to a “rally/parade” on May 17 from 4:30-6:30 p.m. to protest proposed employee outsourcing by marching around The Blade.
“Members should take no comfort if their job is spared,” Covarrubias wrote. “Without other Unions here to support us, who can predict what will happen next?
It cannot [be] stressed enough how important it is to have people show up for this. Take some time and march.”
Covarrubias confirmed last week that The Blade intends to post a WARN Act notice, which could result in the outsourcing of the production of the paper. As of May 16, there has yet to be a WARN Act posted, which gives employees a 60-day notice of either closings or “mass layoffs.”
In a press release, Covarrubias said that after the unions offered more than $7 million in concessions, The Blade is threatening to get rid of more than 190 employees by outsourcing unless the workers give up $2 million more. She said that the unionized workers absorbed $11 million in cutbacks in 2007, which after these newest cutbacks would reduce wages in some cases by 40 percent since 2007.
The press release, titled “Blade Outsourcing Plan Shames Blocks,” claims the Block family, which own The Blade, is committing actions that “are a betrayal of the trust of the community.”
“This is a paper that has decried the flow of jobs out of the City and encouraged the concept of Buy Local,” Covarrubias wrote. “The Blade simply does not practice what it preaches.”
A message seeking comment was left for Blade President and General Manager Joseph Zerbey on May 16.
Covarrubias also asserted that the lockout of about 200 workers for nearly nine months in 2006 “caused irreparable damage to The Blade’s reader and advertiser base” and plans of outsourcing “will only further alienate readers and advertisers.”