September 10, 2008

Pinch Sulzberger, union-buster

Thomas Lifson
The New York Times destroys the jobs of 550 union members, replacing them with non-union labor. And not for the first time is the very wealthy Pinch Sulzberger squeezing money out of workers who weren't born to a hereditary fortune.

Silicon Alley Insider reports:

The New York Times is shutting down City and Suburban Delivery Systems , a unit that distributed the Times and 200 other publications to newsstands in the New York, New Jersey and Connecticut area. With it, the NYT is shedding 550 full-time union jobs. Instead, company will increase its reliance on non-union contractors (read: cheaper) to distribute the Times to area retailers.


The unit was formed in 1992 in a bid to diminish the clout of unions over the newspaper delivery business. The Times bought two newspaper wholesalers to form the unit and negotiated a long-term employment contract with drivers. A good idea at the time, but as NYT GM Scott Heekin-Canedy says now, "the business environment has changed dramatically...."

Just over two years ago, another set of union workers at the Times got the axe. Eight hundred well-paid union workers lost their jobs at the company's giant New Jersey printing plant (the building of which in 1992 was the first major project Pinch undertook when his father brought him into the business), when the company no longer needed to print quite so many copies as before Pinch took charge. As I wrote at the time:

A profitable company is to shutter a factory it built in 1992 as part of a much-hailed visionary strategy to take advantage of technology. But now it is just a cost to be cut. Eight hundred jobs, many of them well-paying blue collar positions (supposedly an endangered species) will disappear, while managerial and professional jobs are being protected.

Normally, this would be a juicy target for series of articles on the front and business pages of the New York Times. You know the drill: a parade of blue collar people victimized by the Bush administration, and now facing a bleak future. Meanwhile the insiders make out fine. There's even a fat cat CEO whose compensation package has done a whole lot better than its profits or stock. If Howell Raines still were editor, he'd get at least 40 stories out of it.

But today, the company in question is the New York Times Company. So don't expect the same rules to apply.

Nothing personal - it's just business.

Hat tip: Susan L.
Thank you Mr. Thomas Lifson
NMDU Forever