DAYTON – Showing greater resolve than ever to stand united in the face of unfairness, more than 60 members and supporters of the Dayton Newspaper Guild massed on the sidewalk on Wednesday, March 28, to rally for journalism and middle-class jobs at Cox Media Group Ohio headquarters.
Rally-goers protested the Dayton Daily News’ efforts to degrade working conditions in its newsroom. Among its demands, the newspaper wants unlimited power to use freelancers to replace the professional journalists who serve as the community’s watchdog. This is a serious threat, as the newspaper recently announced that it also is outsourcing oversight of the delivery of its newspapers – and outsourcing more jobs in the process.
The newspaper also wants to get rid of job security for its most experienced workers by eliminating seniority-based layoffs. And even while the company gives nonunion newsroom managers raises and bonuses, it is denying small merit raises to hard-working union employees who kept the newspaper profitable during the recession.
Dayton Newspaper Guild members have been inspired in their fight for fairness by a tremendous outpouring of community and union support. Israel Castro, Teamsters District Council 3 representative for Local 128N, which represents the newspaper’s mailroom and pressroom workers, drove with his wife and two sons from Louisville, Ky., just to take part in Wednesday’s rally. In addition to mailroom workers, the Springfield News-Sun’s union-represented editorial workers also have rallied in solidarity with the Dayton Newspaper Guild. So have former Dayton Daily News workers, representatives of AFL-CIO, Occupy Dayton, Miami Valley Full Employment Council, Service Employees International Union and Putting People First. Rick McKiddy, who is running to represent District 6 in the Ohio Senate, also attended the rally
Chants at the rally included: “Guild Strong, Cox Wrong”; “C-M-G-O, Union-Busting Has Got to Go”; “Stop This Hypocrisy, Labor IS Democracy”; “Say it loud, we’re Guild and proud”; “Fair deal, not raw deal”; and “Hey, Hey, Beep, Beep, Cox Media is Mighty Cheap.”
The turnout was 20 percent larger than at the Newspaper Guild’s first rally on March 16, which about 50 people attended.
The Dayton Newspaper Guild represents more than 90 reporters, photographers, copy editors, web designers and editorial assistants who work for Cox Media Group Ohio, including the Dayton Daily News. SNEA represents editorial workers at the Springfield News-Sun.