Sources who attended Monday night’s meeting of the Sun-Times’ chapter of the newspaper guild say that, unsurprisingly, the union seems to have little information and even less power in the face of an impending cut of another seven percent in wages and benefits and rumors of outsourcing copy-editing to India. A strike against the on-life-support newspaper would likely kill the publication, leaving the union only with grievance-filing in its toolbox, and even that means little if the publication doesn’t survive. The Tribune, smelling blood, announced Tuesday that it was converting its newsstand product to a tabloid, in a move that seems to be a clear attempt at placing the dagger directly in the Sun-Times heart. Sun-Times staffers related details about Monday night’s convocation of union members of the editorial department, including writers, columnists, copyeditors, photographers, designers and some web workers. Union reps told members the proposed pay cuts would not save jobs and working fewer hours did not appear to be an option. The issue of severance arose, and a lawyer explained that fired copy editors would likely get severance, but if the company folds it’s not clear if employees would still receive that benefit. Members militated about alerting the general public about the threat of outsourcing, and picketing was discussed.
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