Employees at St. Louis Dispatch Plan “Let Them Eat Cake” Protest

How’s this for biting the hand that feeds you? Or rather, slapping it in the face instead.

Employees of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch will gather outside their office at noon today in the name of a protest against corporate greed! According to the United Media Guild, they’re protesting the bonuses paid to Mary Junck, the CEO, and Carl Schmidt, the CFO. They earned $500,000 and $250,000, respectively.

When Junck and Schmidt received their six-figure bonuses for refinancing the debt of newspaper chain Lee Enterprises, the chain was busy laying off journalists at their papers. Apparently, bonuses were paid the same day layoffs occurred! As such, the Guild says leaders of Lee Enterprises are as out of touch as old-school French Royalty and promises that “all who attend will receive a delicious cupcake” from a union bakery.

Shannon Duffy, business representative of the United Media Guild, the largest union at the Post-Dispatch, asked, “Since when does tanking a company rate a bonus?”

Considering the company’s stock has plummeted from $40 per share in 2005 to over a dollar-a-share today, she pointed out it’s “unbelievable that Lee’s board of directors would reward that kind of performance.”

The Guild’s press release outlined the plan for the protest:

“Speakers will include Duffy, Guild Local President Jeff Gordon, Post-Dispatch retirees and Erica Douglas, daughter of Robert Douglas, a 40-year employee who died one year after having his retiree medical coverage cut off by Lee. Douglas recently returned from attending Lee’s annual shareholder’s meeting in Davenport, Iowa where she read a letter to Lee’s Board of Directors about her father and his life. It was a powerful moment and Douglas has vowed that her father’s death will not be in vain as she continues to speak out about the callous disregard that Lee has for its retirees.”