Monday, March 25, 2013

Rancor at the SF Chronicle; Staffers fume over more Wage/Health Care Cuts; Take to Facebook to air Outrage

There is upheaval at the SF Chronicle.

A day after the newspaper announced it has begun a paywall, members of the rank and file took to Facebook to express deep displeasure and frustration over Hearst Corp., (the owner of the paper), and its treatment of the work force over more proposed wage cuts and increased health-care premiums.

Here's a statement from staffers:

"Hearst is insisting that we shoulder huge increases for an inferior health plan. Even offset by a meager proposed raise, this accounts to a pay cut of hundreds or thousands of dollars a years for most of us.

We love the Chronicle, and we love journalism, but we can't keep donating our own livelihoods to increase the profits of our corporate owners."

A columnist, who requested anonymity, told me that morale at the daily is poor and that a good deal of reporters and columnists are further outraged that management's proposed takebacks coincide with the announcement of the paywall.

"It's just very demoralizing and toxic around here,"said the columnist. Reporters posted a petition on the Facebook page asking the public for support.

A call into Hearst Corp. for comment was not immediately answered.

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  1. The Chronicle commissary also realized sales had dropped because of bad food. So,they tripled prices..
    Downward spiral,downward spiral...

  2. Well, welcome to the real world. Before I retired I didn't have a raise in five years, yet my benefit costs rose every year. So, I too, endured a de facto pay cut every year for five years. Besides, the Chronicle has become a joke of a newspaper.

  3. Journalists and soldiers continue to be shafted by their employers. Not sure why people still pursue those career choices...

  4. I'm guessing this is going to be a take it or leave it proposition as the Chronicle is not even close to making money. Seems like they're closer to closing down than paying more of the rising cost of their employees health care premiums.

  5. Newspapers including the Chron have been so dead with ads down, readership floating down the tubes and the lack of support from the public a lot smaller than the staffers thing. "Journalism" and "The Chronicle" are both oxymorons. Welcome to the real world, like everyone else. Just ask Mclatchy staffers all over the country. No sadnesss here and good luck with that paywall. Radio is next, and piss poor blogs aren't making money either and most won't be. Lots of choices out there. This isn't one of them.

  6. I hate to say it because I do have great respect for journos, especially those who have continued to stick it out at newspapers, but you have to think that the corporate types think that if people will stick it out through all that has happened to the profession, the cutbacks, layoffs etc, they'll stick it out through additional cutbacks.

  7. I love how there is ZERO mention from the Chron staff about Obama care. Obviously a main if not THE reason their premiums are going up. An association of health insurers stated last week individual premiums will go up at least 200% in 2014. Affordable... not. The irony of the Chron idiots getting stung by the plan that they helped the Prez lie/shill about is DELICIOUS.

    1. Obama care helps those who had none most. Those who's medical care didn't come until they were in the emergency room(Republican care). You think the way things were, were so great? Do nothing as costs spiraled?

    2. The Chronicle writers are mad? How sad.
      As the poster at 6:34pm said, welcome to ObamaCare.
      Say, how is that next editorial extolling the virtures of ObamaCare coming along?
      Such is life in the fast lane.

    3. No 1007,that's not true. Obama care hasn't fully kicked in. . Those Chron people-the lower paid ones- might get much better care then now at lower cost. That's the whole point. Or do you want it both ways? Call Obama a liberal on one hand, who helps big corporations? Sounds like that's what your saying/claiming..

    4. "Call Obama a liberal on one hand, who helps big corporations?"

      Absolutely YES! Politicians, ALL politicians sell out the tax payer(not the 47% that get a free ride) while giving in to the lobbyists of special interests with $$$. Tobacco should be illegal but the law makers instead choose to tax (the buyer including the 47%, not maker)rather than abolish it and unburden the health care system.

      The health care insurers will make out like big to fail.

      A politician with virtue, PRICELESS! I hope you're sterile.

    5. Health insurance premiums have been skyrocketing for years, long before Obamacare was even discussed.

    6. ObamaCare did-in the Chronicle staff. End of discussion!

    7. Exactly 413. 1007 wants to blame Obama for the price of tin in Bolivia....

    8. > Tobacco should be illegal

      They tried that. It was called prohibition and it didn't work. Read some history. Learn something.

      And why should it be any more illegal than the other things we ingest that are deadly?

      > but the law makers instead choose to tax
      > (the buyer including the 47%, not maker)

      IF you tax the maker he just passes it on to the buyer. The sales tax is aimed at the merchant, for example. Bet you didn't know that either.

    9. Federal regulation to prohibit the growing, manufacturing, distribution, and/or use of tobacco products? Nope never heard. Would someone in this day and age risk jail time for a cigarette?

      If or who gets taxed isn't the issue or a prescribed strategy to better society, it's the governments solution to avoid upsetting the lobbyists. The problem is it's tolerance. Politicians are aiding and abetting premature death.

      The insurance lobbyists are protecting their own self interests by influencing ($$$)law makers to require seat belts ~ existence and wasn't dreamt up by your favorite democrat for altruistic reasons. That example was "win, win, win, win" co's pay out less, politicians got some nice trips out of the deal, less impact on the ER/hospitals, and the travelers are safer.

      Why address the issue of political sell outs and the influence that lobbyist have when you can spew few flimsy fallacies about off target details? BS is easy and the internet is full of eager believers, or so YOU would hope.

  8. Please,i have no idea what a paywall is !

    1. It's the news industry's solution after years of failed effort to generate online revenue by giving away content for free, hoping advertisers would be wooed by the large number of daily website visits. At many papers now, only paid subscribers can access the website. At others, viewers can read a small number of articles every 30 days, and then access is denied unless they subscribe. Still others, including the Chronicle, will provide lower-tier content to all web users at no charge but will charge a subscription for premium content, the best columnists, and special features withhold from the lower-tier website.

  9. The newspaper business is dead. It's not a matter of "corporate" trying to screw people over. These employees need to read "Who Moved My Cheese" - only a moron would have stuck with a newspaper job given the direction of that business. News papers are losing revenue, the business is in free fall, yet the employees are shocked that they don't get the same health care plan.. are you joking?

    1. They're not joking in other countries, where they accomplish this without difficulty. The real culprit is the heath care providers, who jack up rates every year far beyond the increase in their cost of doing business and then report record profits to their shareholders. Whenever any politician proposes regulation, everyone--even the people covered--scream STALIN!! Well, enjoy your premiums that double every year then.

  10. Gosh, this sounds like KGOne!!

  11. What's Obama care? I don't think even he knows.
    I dare anybody to explain it in one paragraph.By the way Rich, Giants win the series again this year?

  12. Sounds like what I've been dealing with since the mid 1990s. The media company I worked for stopped giving me raises and actually cut my hours and my pay a few times in the late 90s and early 2000s. Then when a new company came in and bought the operation, I was 'downsized' out of my job and much of what I had done was not even picked up by other workers.

    The whole process is an abomination. Hire cheap, naive newcomers just out of school who have no dependents, no mortgage, and put the fear of god into them by making them work 60 hours a week without any extra compensation. This is America in the 21st century, and it's one of the reasons our economy is beginning to resemble that of a Third World country.

    'This Shareholder Mentality' has taken hold of our country like a sick fever. And as far as the companies that follow this merciless are concerned, loyalty and hard work don't count for squat. Screw the workers! If they don't like it, there's the door!

    These businesses have little respect for the country that allows them to make these obscene profits, because they've done everything they can to lower the quality of the goods and services they offer to the public while making their obscene profits.

    As long as they've got theirs, that's all that counts. That's so Darwinian and childish. What a soul less kind of a philosophy!

    While these kind of businesses will eventually reap what they sew, it will be of cold comfort to those who have been tossed away like used parts. What kind America are we living in these days? It's a far cry from the country where I grew up!

    1. Very few countries have the same mindset that we do...that we somehow deserve a comfortable and convenient life.

      Capitalism began long before 1990 and has a history of correcting itself. Winners and losers, dog eat dog. The new socialist agenda will never trickle up to corporations in a negative way (only a solyndra way).

      If you have a retirement plan, have bought something online, or shop at a major chain rather that the corner shop, you have willingly bought into the game. If not, your less of a hypocrite.

      1:01 mentioned "who moved my cheese?"...adapt or get left behind.

      Sew what do you think of that?

      BTW~ KPIX showed someone stopping at the GGB tolls which, in case you haven't heard, are now automated with fastrak ONLY. The stopped car was a Prius...go figure.

  13. I know someone who works at a place where the cost of healthcare for their employees went up 200 percent in one year. They had to drop coverage period, and this is a Fortune 500 company. The bad guys are not the Chronicle, the bad guys are the health providers. Obama refused to deal with the real culprit--not that Congress would have let him, but he just kicked the can down the road like everyone else has done. People laugh at "Hillary care" but at least she got her hands dirty and tried to accomplish something. We're stuck with politicians without spine and insurance companies who run the country. Can't blame the Chronicle for that.

  14. Hey Chard, I know you're a big Savage fan, but does it not make you wonder at all that he didn't even mention Gay Marriage last night on his show? That he's so scared of the topic as to not be able to cover the biggest topic in America right now? The old man getting a little weak to take on the establishment?

  15. 12:54 makes some very good points, but the rate at which corporate profits have risen, and conversely, taxes on corporations have dropped while plus loopholes have proliferated in recent years is very alarming. The problem that many Americans have is that we became 'greedy' in the 1980s under Reagan, and when we should have been conserving (for instance, going to alternative sources of energy which Jimmy Carter promoted, but Reagan bashed), we dropped the ball.

    Deregulation has allowed mega-companies to downsize, dumb down and dilute our mainstream media, and that's a dangerous thing. An uninformed public in a free society is not good, and Americans have become conditioned, more than ever, to getting their news in soundbites, or relying on disreputable posts that cater to opinion and not fact, and have little credibility. Real Journalism is no longer encouraged, and Americans are so busy and so distracted that they can't see what's going on. A distracted public is a public that has allowed this kind of thing to happen
    (deregulation). Shame on us for letting it happen!

    As far as newspapers being dead...nothing could be further from the truth. True, subscriptions and readership is down, but there is still a substantial percentage of the public reading the newspapers, even though almost all of them are poor substitutes for what they once were.

    And, despite what some people say, commercial (terrestrial), radio is also still very popular. Look for example at the huge numbers of people who tune in to KNBR to listen to the Giants, or to the large numbers that tune in to KQED or KCBS to get their news updates and interview shows.

    This whole nonsense about radio and newspapers being dead is only partly true in that revenues are down. And why is that? Certainly part of if is the proliferation of 21st century media, but most of it is because these mega-companies have consolidated and downsized their product.

    Look at the Bay Area Newspaper Group as an example. That oily character Dean Singleton merged the SJ/Marin/ and east bay papers, cutting hundreds of people out of work and using wire copy instead of having LOCAL reporters cover LOCAL COMMUNITY STORIES.


  16. Many of you are mad. Understandable.

    But you have your businesses wrong. The chronicle staffers (& others) are in the Information Business ... not the Newspaper "business".

    The public today still wants "news, weather & sports". The difference being it is not available in the limited 'delivery systems' of the past. There are more sources today.

    So, the interest & thirst for the product is still there (and probably higher) than in the past that some media organizations have to re-invent themselves while other deliver news via other routes.

    Manufacturing 78 rpm records changed also; people have to adapt and / or move on.

    As far as the unseemly profits corporations make, the shareholders are the ones that take the risk. Without investors there would be no newspaper / business. Businesses have good management & bad management. Businesses have good staff and bad staff.

    RE: Obamacare & the editorials: The many one-sided articles supporting such by Chron as well as the Bay Area News Group reminds me of the saying: Before careful what you wish for.

    Final note. Nobody has to work for someone they don't want to work for. Move on; start a business like others have.

    Unfortunately, the business model for media companies (like SF Chron) have been turned upside down as a result of multiple delivery systems and technology. The Chron may have to suck it up like the Seattle P-I and go online 24 x 7.

  17. To poster at 11:49am. Good observation.
    The San Francisco Chronicle is living in the past.
    They are desperately holding on the notion that people want their newspapers delivered.
    Somehow if we have a newspaper in our hands it has more credibility, more substance.
    From the progressive City, comes an antiquated method of receiving the daily news.

  18. The biggest generation ever is the Gen "Y" age cohort. I read a recent article citing a survey of "X & Y" generations in which they named those items NOT to be a part of their future; unfortunately Newspapers garnered the #1 spot.
    It's not so much that the reporters are outraged but they have NO place to go.