U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) pledged his support for newspaper workers in Dayton, Ohio, Tuesday in their fight for a fair contract at a rally in front of the Dayton Daily News.
“Your fight is yours and everyone else’s across the state and country,” Brown told about 100 Dayton Newspaper Guild members and supporters. “We will stand behind you as you fight for this.”
Brown then joined members of the Guild, two candidates for U.S. Congress, a city commissioner and area labor leaders on a picket line in front of the Dayton Daily News building.
For more on this event, go to the Dayton Business Journal’s story here.
The rally helped launch a public awarness campaign that will include billboard, print and radio ads by the Guild.
The campaign’s first phase is mostly funded by more than $50,000 in contributions from the Dayton Guild’s partner unions — The Newspaper Guild and Communication Workers of America — along with donations from other Newspaper Guild locals across the country.
The Dayton Daily News declared impasse after 11 months of negotiations on Dec. 6 and imposed its last contract offer. The Guild continues to press unfair labor practice charges against the Dayton Daily News for unilaterally declaring impasse, an action the Guild contends was illegal.
A strong majority of Guild members have signed a petition telling the Dayton Daily News its last offer was not good enough. Guild members delivered the petition to Editor Kevin Riley last week.
Brown, who is married to Cleveland Plain Dealer columnist and Newspaper Guild member Connie Schultz, also spoke in favor of the Employee Free Choice Act, which he has co-sponsored in the U.S. Senate. The act would even the playing field for workers when companies like the Dayton Daily News refuse to play fair. Also speaking at the rally were Jane Mitakides, candidate for Congress in Ohio’s 3rd district; Victoria Wuslin, candidate for Congress in Ohio’s 2nd district; and Dayton City Commissioner Nan Whaley.
The Dayton Daily News has been stonewalling the Guild for 21 years since it last ratified a contract. Minimum base pay has not increased for 14 years. Unresolved issues include: the company’s desire to freeze wages in a time of strong profits, deny part-time workers affordable health care and rig arbitration in its favor, among others.
The Dayton Guild represents 147 reporters, copy editors, photographers, online workers, artists and editorial assistants. The Newspaper Guild is a sector of Communication Workers of America.