Indianapolis Star Guild Prepares For Negotiations With Campaign

The Indianapolis Newspaper Guild launched a battle last week against Indianapolis Star owner Gannett, which has just entered into negotiations with the guild for a new contract in the newsroom.

The Guild has launched a new website, SavetheStar.com, and is buying ads on billboards, buses, and radio, the Indianapolis Business Journal reports.

The message? That while Gannett’s execs get rich, the Star is being gutted.

Gannett paid chairman/CEO Craig Dubow $9.4 million in 2010, or double what he got in ’09. Chief operating officer Gracia Martore got $8.2 million, more than double her 2009 salary.

“We’ve been told the Star is still profitable, yet money is being taken out of this paper, and not being kept in this community,” union president Robert King told the IBJ.

The Star also says that pay at the newspaper lags behind 94 other union papers, the newsroom staff has been slashed by 36 percent, and vacant jobs almost never get filled.

A labor studies professor added that starting this campaign now—as negotiations have just begun yesterday—is unusual: “Usually a union would wait until they’ve been sitting at the bargaining table for quite a while before they’d make a high-profile public appeal like this. This is a real pre-emptive strike. I think it shows that the traditional tactics with this union and with this management haven’t worked, so they’re striking out with something new and innovative.”

The newsroom’s latest round of layoffs was in June of this year, when 28 employees were cut; the Star now has 136 employees in its newsroom, down from 230 in 2007.