Manchester Newspaper Guild members and allies turned out in force Sunday morning to show Union Leader Publisher Joe McQuaid that his callous contract “final offer” is beneath contempt.
About 60 picketers, 40 of them Guild members, marched and leafleted outside the newspaper’s annual sports banquet at the Radisson Center of New Hampshire in downtown Manchester.
“It was awesome,” local President Norm Welsh said. “I’m not sure we’ve ever had a better turnout, even when we had twice the membership.
“We know we got the publisher’s attention because he detoured on his way to the event to come over to our group,” Welsh said. “He talked to several members and their families. My guess is he was trying to see if the group was members or ‘outsiders.’ I think he was shocked at the number of our people and who they were. Lots of folks whom I doubt he expected to ever see on a picket line.”
He said members were grateful to be joined by so many allies, including Mark MacKenzie, president of the state AFL-CIO, state Rep. Tim Smith (D-Manchester), and supporters from the IBEW, AFT and the Postal Workers.
The Manchester Guild has called the Union Leader’s final offer “the worst contract proposal ever seen.” In addition to steep benefit cuts, getting rid of job security language and changes that would badly weaken the union, the publisher wants an 18 percent retroactive pay cut.
The local is in the middle of a 10-day byline strike by reporters and photographers to help draw the public’s attention to the company’s ruthless demands.
You can help by signing their petition and circulating it on social media. Go to the local’s “Where’s the Fairness?” website to find the petition and learn more.
“If we are forced to accept this new pay cut, that would mean we would have lost about 30 percent of our pay since 2009,” the local explains on the website. “It would leave us making what we made in 1995. That’s when gas cost $1.11 a gallon. A new car then would run you $13,600. A stamp only cost 32 cents. Imagine. Could you live in today’s world on what you made in 1995? Neither can we.”