Toledo Talk

Why isn't the Blade reporting the latest decision to outsource?

Do they want to continue to look like a local paper even though it won't even be printed locally anymore?

The employee meeting has already occurred. Don't subscribers deserve to know that their daily "local" paper won't even be printed here anymore?

created by mom2 on May 08, 2014 at 07:14:58 am     Media     Comments: 113

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Where is it going to be printed?

posted by bikerdude on May 08, 2014 at 08:13:46 am     #  

Don't they print on site? I can't imagine it would be cheaper to go elsewhere. Unless the union pay is outrageous... but i assume they would be going to another union shop. Hmm.

posted by Molsonator on May 08, 2014 at 10:02:42 am     #  

The Blade has explained that "it's printing presses and related production equipment are at the end of their useful lives" In addition the Superior St. building is "expensive to maintain, and it alone.....million of dollars of repairs" Losses "exceeding $8.5 million in 2013". Blade is proposing to the Joint Council "use of an outside vendor for production of the newspaper"
Seems pretty clear from all that.

posted by fred on May 08, 2014 at 10:45:57 am     #  

Not like the quality from Superior street was all that great lately anyways. Faded pages, crinkled in middle of pages, or just plain blotchy printing, seen all of that last couple years not to mention how thin the paper has become along with the reduction in size a while back and losing a couple comics along with it.

posted by MIJeff on May 08, 2014 at 11:19:51 am     #  

So they're going to use an outside source to print the paper. How is that a bad thing? It's going to be a local source, so that will be contributing to the local economy.

posted by clt212 on May 08, 2014 at 11:25:19 am     #  

Who is printing it locally? and is there a link to all this so i can stop asking questions? :)

posted by Molsonator on May 08, 2014 at 11:34:15 am     #  

Molsonator posted at 11:34:15 AM on May 08, 2014:

Who is printing it locally? and is there a link to all this so i can stop asking questions? :)

I'm making the assumption that if the Blade isn't printing on site or is looking to move printing outside that they'll use a local source because a newspaper bleeding money won't pay for transportation costs that an out-of-area printer would require.

posted by clt212 on May 08, 2014 at 11:43:09 am     #  

Obviously, someone needs to protest and demand they preserve those historic printing presses as an asset to the community. They can't tear down history for the sake of efficiency and progress!

posted by JoeyGee on May 08, 2014 at 11:54:31 am     #   9 people liked this

Not sure anyone can handle it locally. Wall Street Journal has a Web Press down in BG still I think.

My guess is they will print out of town.

posted by Molsonator on May 08, 2014 at 12:07:23 pm     #   1 person liked this

I know of a couple smaller web presses here in town. I think too small to run the circulation of the Blade. A little birdie has told me that it looks like the printing will go north to the Detroit/Sterling Heights area.

posted by daddyg on May 08, 2014 at 12:40:33 pm     #   2 people liked this

Love the little birdies.....

posted by Hoops on May 08, 2014 at 12:57:04 pm     #   1 person liked this

It is my understanding that this is not a final decision. And the timing of the Blade's release of this info to their employees just happens to coincide with the beginning of contract negotiations with said employees. My info is a day or two old, though.

posted by jmleong on May 08, 2014 at 01:41:01 pm     #  

JoeyGee posted at 11:54:31 AM on May 08, 2014:

Obviously, someone needs to protest and demand they preserve those historic printing presses as an asset to the community. They can't tear down history for the sake of efficiency and progress!

Beautiful, JoeyGee. Just beautiful.

posted by Foodie on May 08, 2014 at 01:43:35 pm     #   5 people liked this

I wonder how many employees this would effect?

posted by Molsonator on May 08, 2014 at 01:46:10 pm     #   1 person liked this

A short statement from the Newspaper Guild:

The Guild regrets how the announced proposed decision by Block Communications to outsource production of The Blade will impact Toledo employees and their families.
Management has agreed to continue discussions with the Joint Council to negotiate the terms of the proposal, and its impact on the represented employees.
Unlike in the past, The Guild and the Joint Council are negotiating with BCI separately.
We believe that BCI should invest in Toledo, in its product, and in its most valuable resource: its employees.
The company should always remember that The Blade works because we do.

posted by Nolan_Rosenkrans on May 08, 2014 at 02:09:29 pm     #   1 person liked this

Help me out Nolan - I don't have a program - Who is the Guild and who is the Joint Council?

posted by Molsonator on May 08, 2014 at 02:13:10 pm     #  

http://www.toledoguild.org/

The Guild represents the bulks of employees at the Blade: editorial, circulation, advertising, information systems and finance departments.

The Joint Council is all the other unions, such as Teamsters, engravers, etc.

posted by Nolan_Rosenkrans on May 08, 2014 at 02:16:11 pm     #   1 person liked this

Nolan_Rosenkrans posted at 02:09:29 PM on May 08, 2014:

A short statement from the Newspaper Guild:

The Guild regrets how the announced proposed decision by Block Communications to outsource production of The Blade will impact Toledo employees and their families.
Management has agreed to continue discussions with the Joint Council to negotiate the terms of the proposal, and its impact on the represented employees.

Unlike in the past, The Guild and the Joint Council are negotiating with BCI separately.

We believe that BCI should invest in Toledo, in its product, and in its most valuable resource: its employees.

The company should always remember that The Blade works because we do.

Employees often forget that they are employed as a necessary part of a solution to deliver a company's product or mission.

Providing employment for workers is not the company's product or mission, but a byproduct.

Oddly, it is most often union workers who lose that perspective and mistake providing employment for the primary mission.

posted by justread on May 08, 2014 at 02:22:05 pm     #   2 people liked this

Thanks Nolan for the info.

So the Joint Council has the most to lose, yes? Although both have some to lose?

posted by Molsonator on May 08, 2014 at 02:39:44 pm     #  

A thought has crossed my mind. It seems as more and more people are getting their news on line and the paper as is seems about 12 hours old news...how would having someone outside the city printing it effect the timeliness of the news and also how would it effect outlying areas who receive the paper?

posted by Molsonator on May 08, 2014 at 02:44:04 pm     #   1 person liked this

Would become like the Monroe Evening News and suck just as bad.

posted by MIJeff on May 08, 2014 at 03:05:34 pm     #   1 person liked this

After all the ink they used on courthouses, the United Way building, Pythian Castle, etc., they need to maintain their structure. They wouldn't dare mothball it.

posted by jimavolt on May 08, 2014 at 03:41:26 pm     #   8 people liked this

jimavolt posted at 03:41:26 PM on May 08, 2014:

After all the ink they used on courthouses, the United Way building, Pythian Castle, etc., they need to maintain their structure. They wouldn't dare mothball it.

hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!!!! haha!! lol, like anything The Blade has ever demanded other people do applies to them!! I lolled, thanks!!

posted by nana on May 08, 2014 at 03:47:10 pm     #   3 people liked this

daddyg posted at 12:40:33 PM on May 08, 2014:

I know of a couple smaller web presses here in town. I think too small to run the circulation of the Blade. A little birdie has told me that it looks like the printing will go north to the Detroit/Sterling Heights area.

That's what I heard as well. That printing will be done in the Detroit area.

As Mijeff mentioned, the Monroe Evening News started printing out of town. Printing is done in the Kalamazoo/Battle Creek area for that paper, I believe. I know many people who stopped subscribing to the MEN, specifically pecause of the drop in quality and timeliness issues.

posted by mom2 on May 08, 2014 at 04:02:33 pm     #  

Why doesn't the Detroit Free Press just make a Toledo addition?

posted by Molsonator on May 08, 2014 at 04:31:50 pm     #  

Molsonator posted at 04:31:50 PM on May 08, 2014:

Why doesn't the Detroit Free Press just make a Toledo addition?

Because I highly doubt Detroit gives a rats ass about what is is going on in Toledo, they have their own problems to deal with / report on.

posted by MIJeff on May 08, 2014 at 04:43:56 pm     #  

justread posted at 02:22:05 PM on May 08, 2014:
Nolan_Rosenkrans posted at 02:09:29 PM on May 08, 2014:

A short statement from the Newspaper Guild:

The Guild regrets how the announced proposed decision by Block Communications to outsource production of The Blade will impact Toledo employees and their families.
Management has agreed to continue discussions with the Joint Council to negotiate the terms of the proposal, and its impact on the represented employees.


Unlike in the past, The Guild and the Joint Council are negotiating with BCI separately.


We believe that BCI should invest in Toledo, in its product, and in its most valuable resource: its employees.


The company should always remember that The Blade works because we do.

Employees often forget that they are employed as a necessary part of a solution to deliver a company's product or mission.

Providing employment for workers is not the company's product or mission, but a byproduct.

Oddly, it is most often union workers who lose that perspective and mistake providing employment for the primary mission.

It only seems like it is "most often" union workers who "lose that perspective" because they are the only ones who have anything resembling a voice in such matters. The times it happens to them are the only times you'll hear much about it. Any other time, such changes are made with no publicity and little or no tangible argument from the employees, because they have no avenue to fight it. I know you don't seriously think that non-union workers are somehow more likely to grin and accept the cold, hard truths of capitalism, in the face of losing their jobs, with gentle good humor...but I get it. It's already in there...easier to feed it than fight it, right?

posted by Sohio on May 08, 2014 at 04:51:15 pm     #   2 people liked this

No. I just expect them to suggest that they are more important than the mission. That the product exists because they do, rather than their jobs exist because of the product.

posted by justread on May 08, 2014 at 06:29:19 pm     #   2 people liked this

justread posted at 06:29:19 PM on May 08, 2014:

No. I just expect them to suggest that they are more important than the mission. That the product exists because they do, rather than their jobs exist because of the product.

So...proper execution of their jobs adds no value or credibility to the product? The product is exactly the same whether you have qualified people or not? There's no symbiosis?

posted by Sohio on May 08, 2014 at 07:21:29 pm     #   2 people liked this

MIJeff - they don't have to give a rats ass they just have to report on it.

posted by Molsonator on May 08, 2014 at 07:53:09 pm     #  

Molsonator posted at 07:53:09 PM on May 08, 2014:

MIJeff - they don't have to give a rats ass they just have to report on it.

MIjeff is right. I worked in Detroit radio for a couple of years. Detroit media outlets see Toledo as the podunk burgh down south that is barely worthy of mention. Any acknowledgment of Toledo you find in a Detroit paper or on Detroit broadcasting is done grudgingly, trust me. Especially on WJR. It's a snobbery thing. Saw it with my own two eyes.

posted by Sohio on May 08, 2014 at 07:57:09 pm     #  

Yet the Free Press has - in the past - pushed sales in this area. Just a thought.

posted by Molsonator on May 08, 2014 at 08:01:44 pm     #  

Well, I didn't say there weren't exceptions. Just a casual observation on my part, based on what I saw when I was there. I don't have any stats or anything to prove it.

posted by Sohio on May 08, 2014 at 08:10:03 pm     #  

Sohio posted at 07:21:29 PM on May 08, 2014:
justread posted at 06:29:19 PM on May 08, 2014:

No. I just expect them to suggest that they are more important than the mission. That the product exists because they do, rather than their jobs exist because of the product.

So...proper execution of their jobs adds no value or credibility to the product? The product is exactly the same whether you have qualified people or not? There's no symbiosis?

The expectation is that they are being evaluated regularly, and that they are executing their jobs properly or they wouldn't be "protected." Nobody is irreplaceable. It's nice to create jobs. But you staff to the order. And you retain good people by treating them well. When you have high performing people, and you compensate and treat them appropriately, your product has the highest possible credibility. And nobody needs a union. There's true symbiosis.

It's the underperformers and entitlement crowd that needs the protection. And that's not symbiosis.

posted by justread on May 08, 2014 at 09:27:03 pm     #   2 people liked this

Interesting theory. I'm pretty sure you're moving goalposts and spouting nonsense at this point, but you present it well.

The expectation is that they are being evaluated regularly, and that they are executing their jobs properly or they wouldn't be "protected."

OK? Do you suppose this does not happen in a union shop? And what does this have to do with your assertion that the employees have jobs only as a result of demand?

It's nice to create jobs. But you staff to the order.

From what I understand here, the order is not changing. The issue is that the order is (or may be) being moved out of town; not because of worker deficiency, but outdated equipment.

And you retain good people by treating them well. When you have high performing people, and you compensate and treat them appropriately, your product has the highest possible credibility.

Well, years of history has shown that the profit motive actually motivates in the opposite direction of what you just described.

And nobody needs a union.

Maybe you don't. I rather appreciate how a group of guys fought 50-60 years ago to make my job a safer and more rewarding place to work, so I'll stick with it. But, to each his own, I guess.

It's the underperformers and entitlement crowd that needs the protection.

Who said anything about protection? You said workers often forget that they are employed as a result of material demand, and that it is most often union workers that lose sight of that. I stated that I felt you only perceived it that way, because it is generally only union workers who have any method in place to voice their disagreement. Now you're talking about protection? Who says these Blade workers are being "protected?" Their jobs may still be shipped away. The only thing having a union means is that your employer has to sit down with your representatives and negotiate the terms of your employment. That is the ONLY thing it means. Whether or not you are "protected" in any situation depends on the terms of your agreement. You do understand that, right?

It's like you're so hungry to bash unions, you can't even decide which line of attack to take.

posted by Sohio on May 09, 2014 at 08:14:46 am     #   3 people liked this

My "attack" was inspired by Nolan's announcement that the blade works because the workers do. However, the "attack" was broadened to a larger perspective on fist shaking from the rank and file.
Of course, having been president/CEO, and having reported to them provides a unique overview on things.

Call me the outlier, but I have seen, and believe, that unions get in the way of good relationships between management and the talent that they rely on as part of the business plan. It isn't 1920 anymore.
And the fact that it isn't 1920 anymore should bring us back on track to the subject of the obsolescence of the Blade's equipment.
(And their business model.)

posted by justread on May 09, 2014 at 08:53:52 am     #   3 people liked this

OK, justread, you still haven't shown how non-union workers are more likely than union workers to have sympathy for the employer's "mission" when being downsized. I see non-union workers every day; at restaurants, gas stations, and K-Mart. Those people don't look to me like they are overwhelmed with concern for and understanding of the company's "Mission" just because there's no pesky union around to cloud their judgment. But, you needed to get your talking point out, and you did. So, I'll let it go.

Call ME the outlier, but I suspect that the only thing that can get in the way of a good relationship between management and talent is management themselves; the use of unions or other things as a scapegoat is an effective obfuscation of that. I have to believe there are a lot of others who have seen this first hand, like I have. You are correct that it is not 1920 anymore. But, thanks to people like you, we're heading back that way slowly but surely. Cheers!

As you suggested, let's get back to the Blade's outdated equipment. I'm sure you'll have an amusing anecdote as to how the age of their equipment was somehow advanced by disgruntled union workers...

posted by Sohio on May 09, 2014 at 09:10:15 am     #   4 people liked this

"thanks to people like you"

People like me? You mean, people who have had employees follow them from job to job because they have been treated so fairly and appropriately?

You may choose not to believe it. But nobody who works for me or has ever worked for me will ever clamor for union "protection."

Yes, clearly I am an evil robber baron.

The truth is, good people make a difference. Good people need to be respected, compensated, supported, and rewarded. Retaining good people, even at a higher cost, is cheaper in the long run than churning through not-so-good people. That's just good business.
In my experience, the fist shakers are rarely missed.

posted by justread on May 09, 2014 at 10:11:34 am     #   1 person liked this

You may choose not to believe it. But nobody who works for me or has ever worked for me will ever clamor for union "protection."

Good on you. Since establishment of a union in a workplace requires a majority vote, it sounds to me like you don't ever need to worry about it happening in any place where you are in control. I hope that continues! In the meantime, though, I hope you will not begrudge the rights that other workers in other places have to organize, if they feel they're not getting a fair shake? And I hope you will not begrudge employees who are already organized (such as the Blade workers in question) to speak up when they feel their jobs may be unjustly threatened?

posted by Sohio on May 09, 2014 at 10:35:20 am     #   4 people liked this

Not only do I not intend to engage in any acts of begrudgery, I feel genuinely sorry for those whose futures are intertwined with the fist shakers and those who are unable to bargain individually based on their own value, but must settle for the diluted spoils of adversarial shenanigans.

posted by justread on May 09, 2014 at 10:45:16 am     #   3 people liked this

To be honest, I would guess that a majority of the people who are "unable to bargain individually based on their own value" are OK with it overall...since the union can also be REMOVED with a majority vote...and not only is that easier than people think, but there are plenty of anti-union organizations that offer assistance with it. If that many union workers thought they were better off without it, my guess would be they would band together and get rid of the union scourge, the same way they once banded together to form it.

So, I don't think you need to "feel sorry" for them. My experience has been that union members, even ones who don't generally "care for" unions, are at least protective enough of their seniority rights that they'd rather not upset the apple cart. Nonetheless, were they aware of it, I am sure they would appreciate your "sympathy."

posted by Sohio on May 09, 2014 at 10:50:55 am     #   4 people liked this

but must settle for the diluted spoils of adversarial shenanigans.

Also, those "diluted spoils" also amount to higher wages more often than not. So...again...they appreciate your sympathy.

posted by Sohio on May 09, 2014 at 11:06:12 am     #   4 people liked this

The continued decline of unions suggests that perhaps some of those poor indentured souls are aware of the true cost of unions, and the true benefits or lack thereof.

In today's world, unions amount to little more than "pay to play."

posted by justread on May 09, 2014 at 11:12:11 am     #   1 person liked this

justread posted at 11:12:11 AM on May 09, 2014:

The continued decline of unions suggests that perhaps some of those poor indentured souls are aware of the true cost of unions, and the true benefits or lack thereof.

In today's world, unions amount to little more than "pay to play."

Straw man. Are the unions declining because their members are rejecting them, or because union shops are being eliminated in favor of cheaper overseas labor? Do you have any figures for how often a union shop willfully decertifies its union? Coors in the 1980s is one example. In those cases, is there any data as to wether it was unionization, or a particular union that was objected to?

You also continue to neglect to offer any substantive proof that union members are more likely to ignore the "mission" of the employer as their supremely-engaged non-union counterparts are. Nothing...?

On the other hand, I'm pretty sure our little side-debate here has scared everyone else away form this thread. Let it never be said that Justread and Sohio do not know how to prompt anarchy. Cheers, my friend!

posted by Sohio on May 09, 2014 at 11:20:59 am     #   1 person liked this

*whether
*from

You'll have to excuse me. Starting a little early today. It happens to be Beefeater this time around. Madjack will tell you whiskey is the way, but I am a gin Man, myself.

posted by Sohio on May 09, 2014 at 11:25:33 am     #   1 person liked this

sohio - I thought Kmart was unionized and represented by the Union of Food and Commercial Workers?

posted by shamrock44 on May 09, 2014 at 11:32:51 am     #  

"Do you have any figures for how often a union shop willfully decertifies its union?"

You just said it was super easy a minute ago.

But it is really only super easy if you want to get beat up, shot at, or have your tires slashed. (Just a few recent local examples.)

Cheers to you as well.

posted by justread on May 09, 2014 at 11:34:06 am     #  

But it is really only super easy if you want to get beat up, shot at, or have your tires slashed. (Just a few recent local examples.)

I thought it wasn't 1920 anymore?

I didn't say it was "super" easy; but easier than people think. At least as easy as forming a union in the first place.

So, do you have any numbers, or facts?

NO?

Doesn't matter. I love you anyway. You know that, justread.

Cheers again.

posted by Sohio on May 09, 2014 at 11:37:49 am     #   2 people liked this

shamrock44 posted at 11:32:51 AM on May 09, 2014:

sohio - I thought Kmart was unionized and represented by the Union of Food and Commercial Workers?

To my knowledge, they are not. But, I could be wrong.

posted by Sohio on May 09, 2014 at 11:41:15 am     #  

In today's world, unions amount to little more than "pay to play."

I'm sure you can back that up, too.

posted by Sohio on May 09, 2014 at 11:51:10 am     #  

Of course, any "people like me" could.

posted by justread on May 09, 2014 at 11:55:16 am     #  

OK, then...do it..?

posted by Sohio on May 09, 2014 at 12:00:40 pm     #  

This is a non issue. I predict at some point in the relative near future the cost of door to door circulation will be to high and they will have to cut down distribution to something similar to what the Free Press/City Paper do. At that point does it even matter where they print?

A bolder prediction..... in 10-15 years when the returns get to low the Blocks just short the doors all together. Problem Solved!

The numbers don't lie:

http://stateofthemedia.org/2013/newspapers-stabilizing-but-still-threatened/newspapers-by-the-numbers/

posted by glasscityguy on May 09, 2014 at 12:34:30 pm     #  

I would say the over/under is 4 years.

posted by Molsonator on May 09, 2014 at 12:39:29 pm     #  

To be honest, I would guess that a majority of the people who are "unable to bargain individually based on their own value" are OK with it overall...since the union can also be REMOVED with a majority vote

...not to mention, a person, through demonstrated loyalty and submission, in most shops, can jump up to non-union salaried positions, where they can proceed to cast off the shackles of collective bargaining and bargain for the best that they can get on their own. I've seen plenty of fine folks do quite well for themselves this way; and oddly enough, the proximity to a labor union didn't slow them down one bit. I guess a person with that personal velocity cannot be stopped, in spite of the servitude that some would have you think was thrust upon them.

...But again, me and my union brethren appreciate your sympathy. It's-a hard way a-livin', for sure...

posted by Sohio on May 09, 2014 at 01:23:09 pm     #   1 person liked this

It wasn't so much sympathy as pity, but close enough.
Good luck!

posted by justread on May 09, 2014 at 01:27:31 pm     #  

Sympathy...pity...it's all good.

Might be better spent on someone with no voice in their job or their destiny, but what the hell. I'll take it.

THANKS!

posted by Sohio on May 09, 2014 at 01:28:33 pm     #  

Ok. I have just started to drink. Cheers.
Hopefully you are napping.

posted by justread on May 09, 2014 at 06:50:51 pm     #  

Reading this was like reading all the Fred vs Wolfarth comments on the other Toledo thread. Same topic. Why don't you go over there and piss at each other? At least start your own thread instead of usurping this one?

posted by jimavolt on May 09, 2014 at 08:09:34 pm     #   1 person liked this

Don't be a mean drunk Jim. There was love on this thread.

Did the Blade announce this potential change yet? Is there something new to report?

posted by justread on May 09, 2014 at 08:17:53 pm     #  

I haven't even had a drop today! Thanks for steering the thread back. Cheers.

posted by jimavolt on May 09, 2014 at 08:31:09 pm     #  

Hopefully you can start soon.
Sorry for the hijack.

posted by justread on May 09, 2014 at 08:39:36 pm     #  

Yeah, Jim, don't be a mean drunk. Relax. We weren't pissing on each other...did you see one cross word exchanged? This is how justread & I express our fondness for one another. Spirited debate but never an ungentlemanly gesture nor a drop of piss. Vinegar, maybe. But no piss.

Justread: no nap. It's Friday. Business to conduct, which I have beeen since 9am. Sounds like you just joined me. Cheers! Again!

On that note...Nolan's press release from the union is the only public acknowledgement I can find anywhere on the internet about any of this, apart from this thread. Which gets us back to the question posed in the title...?

posted by Sohio on May 09, 2014 at 08:45:09 pm     #  

Yeah, hugs and all that.

I talked to a couple of media people who are aware of it but not biting on the story. Guessing that they want to see something meant for press release before they walk out that limb.

Why is the Blade not reporting it? As far as I am concerned, they did. Hashtag their staff represents them hashtag.

posted by justread on May 09, 2014 at 08:54:52 pm     #  

Hashtag their staff represents them hashtag.

I'm not sure that's how that works...

posted by Sohio on May 09, 2014 at 09:04:51 pm     #  

Sohio posted at 10:35:20 AM on May 09, 2014:

You may choose not to believe it. But nobody who works for me or has ever worked for me will ever clamor for union "protection."

Good on you. Since establishment of a union in a workplace requires a majority vote, it sounds to me like you don't ever need to worry about it happening in any place where you are in control. I hope that continues! In the meantime, though, I hope you will not begrudge the rights that other workers in other places have to organize, if they feel they're not getting a fair shake? And I hope you will not begrudge employees who are already organized (such as the Blade workers in question) to speak up when they feel their jobs may be unjustly threatened?

Or he don't hire the dregs of the earth to work for him, choosing good quality dependable people to work for you means you pay them what they are worth without threats of work stoppage or sabotage.

posted by MIJeff on May 09, 2014 at 09:06:19 pm     #  

Sohio posted at 11:20:59 AM on May 09, 2014:
justread posted at 11:12:11 AM on May 09, 2014:

The continued decline of unions suggests that perhaps some of those poor indentured souls are aware of the true cost of unions, and the true benefits or lack thereof.

In today's world, unions amount to little more than "pay to play."

Straw man. Are the unions declining because their members are rejecting them, or because union shops are being eliminated in favor of cheaper overseas labor? Do you have any figures for how often a union shop willfully decertifies its union? Coors in the 1980s is one example. In those cases, is there any data as to wether it was unionization, or a particular union that was objected to?

You also continue to neglect to offer any substantive proof that union members are more likely to ignore the "mission" of the employer as their supremely-engaged non-union counterparts are. Nothing...?

On the other hand, I'm pretty sure our little side-debate here has scared everyone else away form this thread. Let it never be said that Justread and Sohio do not know how to prompt anarchy. Cheers, my friend!

Hey why dont you go for 50 bucks an hour for everyone ans dee how many more companies go overseas.

posted by MIJeff on May 09, 2014 at 09:08:02 pm     #  

MIJeff posted at 09:06:19 PM on May 09, 2014:
Sohio posted at 10:35:20 AM on May 09, 2014:

You may choose not to believe it. But nobody who works for me or has ever worked for me will ever clamor for union "protection."

Good on you. Since establishment of a union in a workplace requires a majority vote, it sounds to me like you don't ever need to worry about it happening in any place where you are in control. I hope that continues! In the meantime, though, I hope you will not begrudge the rights that other workers in other places have to organize, if they feel they're not getting a fair shake? And I hope you will not begrudge employees who are already organized (such as the Blade workers in question) to speak up when they feel their jobs may be unjustly threatened?

Or he don't hire the dregs of the earth to work for him, choosing good quality dependable people to work for you means you pay them what they are worth without threats of work stoppage or sabotage.

Yes. And, as I said, good for him.

posted by Sohio on May 09, 2014 at 09:31:49 pm     #  

MIJeff posted at 09:08:02 PM on May 09, 2014:
Sohio posted at 11:20:59 AM on May 09, 2014:
justread posted at 11:12:11 AM on May 09, 2014:

The continued decline of unions suggests that perhaps some of those poor indentured souls are aware of the true cost of unions, and the true benefits or lack thereof.

In today's world, unions amount to little more than "pay to play."

Straw man. Are the unions declining because their members are rejecting them, or because union shops are being eliminated in favor of cheaper overseas labor? Do you have any figures for how often a union shop willfully decertifies its union? Coors in the 1980s is one example. In those cases, is there any data as to wether it was unionization, or a particular union that was objected to?

You also continue to neglect to offer any substantive proof that union members are more likely to ignore the "mission" of the employer as their supremely-engaged non-union counterparts are. Nothing...?

On the other hand, I'm pretty sure our little side-debate here has scared everyone else away form this thread. Let it never be said that Justread and Sohio do not know how to prompt anarchy. Cheers, my friend!

Hey why dont you go for 50 bucks an hour for everyone ans dee how many more companies go overseas.

justread and I were sort of admonished to drop this line of debate. But, since you asked, I'll answer you: nobody is going to ask for "50 bucks an hour," because if they did, most employers I know of would declare a bargaining impasse, which allows them to legally hire replacement workers, possibly leaving the current workers (strikers?) without jobs. This would happen long before the need to go overseas to escape exorbitant wages would arise. But, given your well-roudned understanding of labor law, you probably already knew that.

Since you engaged me, let me ask you a question: why don't you go for $1.00 an hour, and see how many companies come back?

To keep this on topic, at least a little: it doesn't sound to me like the union printers at the Blade are asking for more money. From what Nolan posted, it sounds like all they are asking for, at this point, is to be kept in the loop over any changes, and for those changes to be negotiated fairly. Printing of that nature is still a fairly heavily unionized industry, especially in this region of the country (or was, last time I checked...) And, as has been mentioned here already, there's a good chance the Blade will still be dealing with a printer's union if they go elsewhere. So, from what I can tell, this isn't really about ditching union workers, but workers from TOLEDO. This would mean more jobless people around here, which, I would think, would concern some people, regardless of affiliation. At least a little bit. Maybe it's just me.

posted by Sohio on May 09, 2014 at 09:41:55 pm     #  

I would work for 8 bucks an hour, gladly if it was possible to progress with the company.
As far as the union printers, unless they plan on pooling their money and open their own local print shop capable of handling The Blade's business and can survive on that revenue, I don't see any hope for them.
But then you see that's the whole point THEY would be the man and we all know no one sticks it to themselves, at least not intentionally.

posted by MIJeff on May 09, 2014 at 10:06:42 pm     #  

I would work for 8 bucks an hour, gladly if it was possible to progress with the company.

Well, $8 per hour is above the federal minimum wage. WELL above it, if you happen to be a tipped employee. Why should they pay you that much when they don't have to? I would appreciate if you would get your greed in check and stop sending our jobs overseas. Greedy goldbricker.

As far as the union printers, unless they plan on pooling their money and open their own local print shop capable of handling The Blade's business and can survive on that revenue, I don't see any hope for them. But then you see that's the whole point THEY would be the man and we all know no one sticks it to themselves, at least not intentionally.

What the hell are you talking about...?

posted by Sohio on May 09, 2014 at 10:20:07 pm     #   2 people liked this

8 dollars is how much over today's minimum wage? I don't think about 10% over minimum wage can be described as "WELL" over. Tipped employees are taxed on those tips and they are never paid minimum wage to start anyways because those employers are exempt by law.

What I was trying to suggest that if the unions were so worried about their jobs at the presses they could start their own company to print The Blade, but I guess that truly is a stupid suggestion, I mean why take on ownership and all it entails when you can just work for someone else and let them assume all the liabilities it brings, and then complain because you have no say what those who OWN and have those liabilities do with their company.

posted by MIJeff on May 09, 2014 at 11:06:12 pm     #  

8 dollars is how much over today's minimum wage?

$0.75. If you have only ten employees, working 40 hours per week, that's nearly $16K per year, not counting benefits that you'll no doubt offer as a benevolent employer wishing to offer your fine work force only the best. I don't know too many employers that want to shell out $16K or more per year for no good reason. So, your $8 demand is pricing our jobs right to China, pal. Thanks a lot.

Tipped employees are taxed on those tips and they are never paid minimum wage to start anyways because those employers are exempt by law.

Those employers are not exempt by law. Federal tipped minimum wage is a whopping $2.13 per hour. In Ohio, it's bumped up to $3.93. And, federal law requires employers to compensate for any shortage below the actual minimum wage; which most tipped workers will tell you, NEVER HAPPENS.

What I was trying to suggest that if the unions were so worried about their jobs at the presses they could start their own company to print The Blade, but I guess that truly is a stupid suggestion,

It's a stupid suggestion, only because the union forming a company in which they represent the workers therein would be illegal. The employees could go out on that limb, I suppose, independent of the union. But, with the only turn-key shop in the area evidently outdated and neglected by its current corporate owners, that might be an unrealistic model?

I mean why take on ownership and all it entails when you can just work for someone else and let them assume all the liabilities it brings, and then complain because you have no say what those who OWN and have those liabilities do with their company.

Yeah. Why do that? I'm not sure why they would complain in that case. Especially since they are not really complaining now, and they DO have a say. All that has been stated is that they don't particularly like the suggestion that the printing of THE BLADE might be moved out of town (can you blame them? Really?) and that the Blade has agreed to continue negotiations on the subject (is anyone holding a gun to their head?).

So, why they would bother to start their own printing company at this point baffles me, too. I guess that is why nobody is doing it...?

posted by Sohio on May 09, 2014 at 11:51:02 pm     #  

Then what are you suggesting? the Blade should buy all new printing equipment?

posted by MIJeff on May 09, 2014 at 11:54:21 pm     #  

MIJeff posted at 11:54:21 PM on May 09, 2014:

Then what are you suggesting? the Blade should buy all new printing equipment?

No.

I know nothing about that industry and have no idea if that is a viable idea or not.

I am suggesting what is already taking place, from Nolan's post: "Management has agreed to continue discussions with the Joint Council to negotiate the terms of the proposal, and its impact on the represented employees."
Sounds good to me. Obviously, this may or may not lead to a favorable outcome for the employees. But, as I said before, the only thing being a union guarantees you (contrary to popular opinion) is the right to negotiate. In the end, BCI has the ultimate authority to decide what happens within their company and operation. Supposing they negotiate fairly, I doubt you'll hear much more from the union. Apart from honest and fair bargaining, what more could an employee ask for? This should only escalate if they decide to pull some shenanigans; which, knowing the Blocks, they may very well do. I will say that, people who somehow see "negotiate the terms of the proposal, and its impact on the represented employees" as hard-line, business-killing gestapo tactics, perhaps need to re-evaluate their priorities. Or, read a damned history book. But, that's just me, I guess.

Anyone who thinks that the presence of a union means the company cannot EVER close a shop or cease operations has obviously never heard of the GM plant in Moraine:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moraine_Assembly

So, I don't think you need to worry too much about the Blade. I have a feeling that if they really feel the need to cut some costs, they'll get their wish, sooner or later, and the Block family will continue to make moolah and provide all of the fantastic services that everyone on this board seems to love so much. SERIOUSLY: Don't worry, guys...those evil unions will never succeed in toppling that Block family that you all adore.

The only reason this turned into a protracted discussion on unions is that justread said:

Employees often forget that they are employed as a necessary part of a solution to deliver a company's product or mission. Providing employment for workers is not the company's product or mission, but a byproduct. Oddly, it is most often union workers who lose that perspective and mistake providing employment for the primary mission.

...And I called bullshit on that. True to his form, he commenced to dance around his own creation rather than answer to it, hence the drawn-out discussion that enraged jimavolt so much. But what the hell, that's what makes debating justread such an adventure.

posted by Sohio on May 10, 2014 at 12:20:30 am     #   2 people liked this

I know your using sarcasm, or at least I hope you are, I don't think there are any on this site except maybe Paul who wish Block only well wishes. I can see how those employees would like to know when their jobs will end, but I don't see where there is anything they can do about it. If the Blade decides to close its printing operations what are they going to do?
As far as justread's take on companies and employees, he is right in that employees are a necessary evil for a company if they want to supply enough of their product than for personal use. It's capitalism and its the way it works, make the most profit for the least expense and you win. Anyone proposing that the responsibility of a business is to provide jobs obviously don't wish to practice capitalism they want socialism, and there are a lot of examples in history of socialist countries, can you name one that was successful for any duration?

posted by MIJeff on May 10, 2014 at 01:54:35 am     #  

I don't think there are any on this site except maybe Paul who wish Block only well wishes.

Come on...who doesn't love the Blocks?

I can see how those employees would like to know when their jobs will end, but I don't see where there is anything they can do about it. If the Blade decides to close its printing operations what are they going to do?

Not much they can do, really. Nobody can force them to continue to operate. The only exception would be if the union could prove that the company was shutting down only as a means of retaliation, but that is hard to prove, and from what has been written here, it doesn't sound like that is what is happening. The union would likely explore options, and present those options to the company to try and convince them to stay open ("Your printing shop might remain viable if you do 'X', you could do it at 'Y' cost...", etc). Failing that, the only thing left for the union to do is negotiate the exit plan; who goes first, severance pay, etc. Most union contracts have that kind of thing spelled out ahead of time, so in that case, the duty would be to make sure any pre-agreements are followed.

Anyone proposing that the responsibility of a business is to provide jobs obviously don't wish to practice capitalism they want socialism

Not really...the most basic definition of socialism is a system wherein the means of production are controlled by the community, usually through the state. I really don't think anyone is seriously going after that, anyway. I think what most people want is just a system of checks and balances in place, to make sure we don't get shit upon, as we have at various points in the past.

and there are a lot of examples in history of socialist countries, can you name one that was successful for any duration?

Sure. China. But only after we used capitalism as an excuse to send them all our jobs...

posted by Sohio on May 10, 2014 at 05:34:52 am     #  

MIJeff posted at 11:54:21 PM on May 09, 2014:

Then what are you suggesting? the Blade should buy all new printing equipment?

I do wonder why this need wasn't anticipated. Seems like poor business management to me.

Isn't it a normal part of business to be aware that your equipment will age, need repairs, and eventual replacement?

It's awfully convenient that all of a sudden the aging equipment needs replaced right as the union contract is expiring and in need of negotiation.

I'm not even generally a fan of unions, but this situation is pretty shitty.

posted by mom2 on May 10, 2014 at 06:58:19 am     #   3 people liked this

"........I'm not even generally a fan of unions, but this situation is pretty shitty."

Would anyone expect anything but from the local daily fish wrap?

I always love their hypocrisy when it comes to unions. They almost always throw their support behind anything involving local unions - except when it comes to the unions they must deal with.

posted by Foodie on May 10, 2014 at 10:08:29 am     #   5 people liked this

Hypocrisy in general. Not just unions.

If any other company was considering this, the daily "news" paper would be beating door the owner's front door and blowing up the phone. But you know, journalism being sacred and everything, they probably don't want to run any stories about themselves.

(Unlike when they are trying to leverage public opinion in a retransmission negotiation or when couple of employees get hassled.)

posted by justread on May 12, 2014 at 06:36:09 am     #   3 people liked this

On a smaller note, the Sentinel - Tribune has announced their paper will now be printed by the Findlay Courier. Perhaps the consolidation of printing sites is the sign of the future.

posted by Hoops on May 12, 2014 at 08:48:33 am     #  

Perhaps the blade should change their business model and become "One of America's Great Newspaper Printers". They could buy new presses and print their own paper and go after the printing business of The Free Press, City Paper, the Sentinel-Tribune and the Findlay Courier as well as other weekly and monthly publications you see on the way out of grocery stores all around town.

posted by Mike21 on May 12, 2014 at 09:16:27 am     #   6 people liked this

It's my understanding this was an internal memo sent out to employees from the HR director, in connection with current contract negotiations with unions.

Its a 'proposal' to move print operations elsewhere and clearly a direction they'd like to go. But given how, at this point at least, it's part of the typical process in management vs. union pre-contract give-and-take, what's the 'story' they'd be expected to print publically about themselves?

posted by McCaskey on May 12, 2014 at 11:18:56 am     #  

They can get a lot of "story" mileage out of a "proposal" if it is someone else's and they aren't on the inside. Ask Dock Treece.

posted by justread on May 12, 2014 at 12:49:29 pm     #   3 people liked this

No, at present time, despite what may or may not happen down the road, it is posturing.

This, on the other hand, despite being a couple months old, is actually a story---

http://www.post-gazette.com/business/2014/02/12/Post-Gazette-signs-lease-for-printing-plant-and-distribution-center-in-Clinton/stories/201402120151

posted by McCaskey on May 14, 2014 at 12:45:11 pm     #  

So if you are investing in a new facility for your paper in Pittsburgh and it's near an airport why wouldn't you just print your other paper there also fly it into your second city? It's only 43 minutes. And if you were planning on doing that wouldn't you want to make sure that the airport wasn't under a private management agreement with someone you didn't like? http://www.post-gazette.com/business/2014/02/12/Post-Gazette-signs-lease-for-printing-plant-and-distribution-center-in-Clinton/stories/201402120151

posted by fred on May 15, 2014 at 03:09:53 pm     #   1 person liked this

And here it is:

"May 29, 2014

Dear Mayor Collins,
The Toledo Blade has developed plans to close its facility at 541 Superior St., Toledo Ohio, 43660. The entire facility will be closed, and it is anticipated that this shutdown will be permanent.

Consistent with these plans, employment separations are to begin on or about August 1, 2014 or during the 14 days thereafter"
(blah, blah....)
_______________________________________________________

Looks like "approximately" 131 employees will be separated.

posted by justread on May 30, 2014 at 03:16:06 pm     #  

There have been clarifications on Twitter stating that the letter should have said "production facility" instead of "entire facility." The Blade apparently will still be based on Superior Street, but as has been stated on here for a while, the production is going to be completed by another company.

posted by clt212 on May 30, 2014 at 03:51:48 pm     #  

Yeah, well... a letter to the Mayor is not worthy of fact checking or proofreading. (Like the paper itself.)

posted by justread on May 30, 2014 at 03:59:33 pm     #   1 person liked this

I hope the Free Press or Fred can get someone from the United Way or Seneca Country to comment on the Blade's unwillingness to continue to spend money on an inefficient, but, historic building.

posted by JoeyGee on May 30, 2014 at 04:24:42 pm     #   10 people liked this

I love that the buy who works for the Blade sends the letter and then has to correct himself in an interview with the Blade.

posted by fred on May 30, 2014 at 04:26:47 pm     #   2 people liked this

One of the reasons it's better to be right than first when reporting. Huh, Fred?

"Blade notifies unions, city officials of plans to close its production facilities"

http://www.toledoblade.com/Retail/2014/05/30/Blade-notifies-unions-city-officials-of-plans-to-close-its-production-facilities.html

posted by paulhem on May 30, 2014 at 04:48:15 pm     #  

Well, as I said earlier on this topic, an email from HR dept. to employees about 'proposals' for off-site production is not a 'story'.

Now, we can say we have a 'story'.

And Fredo, Stephen B. Spolar is an attorney/executive with Block Communications...not exactly the same as 'someone who works for the Blade.'

posted by McCaskey on May 30, 2014 at 05:16:55 pm     #  

hence the words Block Communications in his official title and on his paycheck. good point mc

posted by fred on May 30, 2014 at 11:10:04 pm     #  

So, I was wondering... what is the genesis of the word "entire" in this letter?

Say you are an attorney representing the Blade, working for the Brother Company. With full access to meetings and a drawer full of letterhead. And you have this letter to write based on your knowledge of the strategies being discussed at the highest level of the board.

How do you accidentally write "entire?" Where in the world does that word even come from if it has never been discussed and never been on the table? It was totally random? No more or less likely than the word "tuna?" From an attorney. A member of a profession in which one word can change everything. A world where "shall" in place of "may" on a document could change a life forever.

Or is it an anticipatory slip that comes from knowledge of a plan to take incremental steps until "entirety" is reached?

This may have been a random "typo." Just a regular sort of "oopsie" that attorneys representing large organizations send to Mayors all the time.

Or it may have been a "tell."

Staggeringly unfortunate, either way.

posted by justread on May 31, 2014 at 05:52:14 am     #   3 people liked this

fred posted at 11:10:04 PM on May 30, 2014:

hence the words Block Communications in his official title and on his paycheck. good point mc

Blade employees are technically Block Communications, Inc employees too. All the paychecks and insurance benefits come from BCI.

BCI isn't a sister company to the Blade. It is the company, the Blade is just a product.

posted by mom2 on May 31, 2014 at 06:35:27 am     #  

BCI isn't a sister company to the Blade. It is the company, the Blade is just a product.

Wikipedia:

"Block Communications (also known as Blade Communications) is a privately held holding company of various assets, mainly in the print and broadcast media."

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Block_Communications

posted by paulhem on May 31, 2014 at 08:51:27 am     #  

Google is your friend. Please use it before bloviation.

"A holding company is a company or firm that owns other companies' outstanding stock. The term usually refers to a company that does not produce goods or services itself; rather, its purpose is to own shares of other companies. Holding companies allow the reduction of risk for the owners and can allow the ownership and control of a number of different companies. In the United States, 80% or more of stock, in voting and value, must be owned before tax consolidation benefits such as tax-free dividends can be claimed."

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holding_company

posted by paulhem on May 31, 2014 at 09:03:59 am     #  

paulhem posted at 08:51:27 AM on May 31, 2014:
BCI isn't a sister company to the Blade. It is the company, the Blade is just a product.

Wikipedia:

"Block Communications (also known as Blade Communications) is a privately held holding company of various assets, mainly in the print and broadcast media."

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Block_Communications

That article may need to be corrected. It indicates that BCI is based in Toledo, Ohio. I would have guessed Pittsburgh.

That's where the letter from the Vice President of HR originated, right?

posted by justread on May 31, 2014 at 09:45:42 am     #  

Good question. BCI's Headquarters are in Toledo. Mr. Spolar does work in Pittsburgh. Mr. Zerbey is the head of both newspapers and he works in Toledo.

I've learned that my large corporation experience tends to cause me confusion and (at times problems) when dealing with a family-owned company like The Blade.

No excuse, though... I've been there more than 18 years.

"Civilians - They're out-of-step and no one's in charge" Old Army joke...

posted by paulhem on May 31, 2014 at 12:33:24 pm     #  

justread posted at 05:52:14 AM on May 31, 2014:

So, I was wondering... what is the genesis of the word "entire" in this letter?

Say you are an attorney representing the Blade, working for the Brother Company. With full access to meetings and a drawer full of letterhead. And you have this letter to write based on your knowledge of the strategies being discussed at the highest level of the board.

How do you accidentally write "entire?" Where in the world does that word even come from if it has never been discussed and never been on the table? It was totally random? No more or less likely than the word "tuna?" From an attorney. A member of a profession in which one word can change everything. A world where "shall" in place of "may" on a document could change a life forever.

Or is it an anticipatory slip that comes from knowledge of a plan to take incremental steps until "entirety" is reached?

This may have been a random "typo." Just a regular sort of "oopsie" that attorneys representing large organizations send to Mayors all the time.

Or it may have been a "tell."

Staggeringly unfortunate, either way.

This was the most interesting 'take' on the matter I've seen or heard anywhere so far.

So good I used it elsewhere. Keep those brain cells a hoppin', justread...

posted by McCaskey on May 31, 2014 at 04:56:04 pm     #  

That Dr. Phil crap is all I got.

It was a great night for Formerly Known As.
Messrs. Block were in good spirits this evening at the MCO 50th fest. Although Allan did mention that he had just returned on a flight from London.
Mayor Collins was super gracious in his comments to and about them of course.

The ghosts of James Rhodes and Paul Block, Jr. were likely lingering.

The food was good.

Here's to the great institution that Paul Block, Jr. envisioned for the community so many years ago.

posted by justread on May 31, 2014 at 10:12:38 pm     #  

By chance was Lloyd Jacobs in attendance and part of the program?

posted by tigers on May 31, 2014 at 10:19:06 pm     #  

Both. He seemed in good spirits.

posted by justread on May 31, 2014 at 10:22:46 pm     #   1 person liked this

JR said a string of positive things about Jacobs. Said the next President needs to be like him.

posted by justread on May 31, 2014 at 10:25:27 pm     #  

Almost gone?

posted by Anniecski on Jun 02, 2014 at 08:53:01 am     #   1 person liked this

From Tribune Live -

"Block told employees in Toledo in a recent letter that losses exceeded $8.5 million in 2013, and unions in Pittsburgh said the P-G was expected to lose $22 million in 2013. Block is a private company and isn't required to publicly report financial information."

http://triblive.com/business/headlines/6221893-74/gazette-post-toledo#ixzz33gFlIKxA

posted by Molsonator on Jun 04, 2014 at 10:28:07 am     #  

“They didn't think they could afford to stay open, but they wanted to negotiate,” he (Nobles) said.

posted by McCaskey on Jun 04, 2014 at 08:45:15 pm     #  

Wonder how much of that $30+mil down the rat hole is being floated by our cable bills?

posted by Foodie on Jun 04, 2014 at 09:33:36 pm     #  

Foodie posted at 09:33:36 PM on Jun 04, 2014:

Wonder how much of that $30+mil down the rat hole is being floated by our cable bills?

From 10 years ago :

Alan Block says in that letter, that the "days are over" when one division, the cablevision division which he runs, will send profits to rescue the other and the Blade hasn't turned a profit since the early 1980's. Block informed the [employees] in that letter that the Blade "isn't healthy" and that no job will be secure until it is.

posted by jr on Jun 04, 2014 at 10:03:08 pm     #  

Thanks for the info jr. However, since they are a private company, how would we ever know?

posted by Foodie on Jun 05, 2014 at 08:45:20 am     #  

It appears that hatchet jobs on mayoral candidates don't sell papers the way they used to....

posted by oldhometown on Jun 06, 2014 at 01:17:11 am     #  

JoeyGee posted at 04:24:42 PM on May 30, 2014:

I hope the Free Press or Fred can get someone from the United Way or Seneca Country to comment on the Blade's unwillingness to continue to spend money on an inefficient, but, historic building.

Post of the year.

posted by oldhometown on Jun 06, 2014 at 01:17:53 am     #