September 8, 2016
A Letter From IAPE Members Across The United States & Canada
On August 25th, IAPE members in Washington, DC delivered a letter to Mr. Will Lewis, CEO of Dow Jones and Publisher of The Wall Street Journal. Today, Union members and other IAPE-represented employees across the rest of our bargaining unit delivered a similar letter. Between the two, over 400 IAPE members and represented employees have signed on to show their support for IAPE's bargaining positions (with members still sending in requests to add their name even after this delivery). The text of our latest letter is pasted below . . .
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
DOW JONES & COMPANY
CEO & Publisher
Dow Jones & Company
1211 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10023
Two weeks ago, the Washington DC bureau took the unusual step of writing to ask for your help during contract negotiations. We'd like to echo that message, for the same reasons cited by our colleagues.
As they noted, since you became CEO and publisher, Dow Jones has undergone an extraordinary turnaround, both in its financial prospects and in the morale, enthusiasm and teamwork of its employees. Like you, we believe that's no coincidence. We appreciate the candor, transparency and creativity you have encouraged at our 127-year-old institution. When you say, "remember, I am here to listen as well as lead," we take you at your word.
Last month, you sent a memo touting News Corp results over the last year: a "fourth quarter total segment EBITDA of $361 million, a 68% increase as compared to $215 million in the prior year." The News Corp 10-k noted the special contributions made by the Dow Jones unit, which accounted for a $22 million increase in earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization during News Corp's fiscal year.
As your memo explained:
Our achievements are a direct result of the skill, creativity, passion and dedication of our employees — for which I am immensely grateful. As CEO, I will continue to strive to ensure Dow Jones is staffed by a highly engaged, richly diverse and fairly rewarded group of people.
We welcome your message, but are concerned because the company has had an entirely different line behind closed doors during contract negotiations with our union, IAPE Local 1096. DJ representatives have painted the company's turnaround as too weak to provide any benefits to us. They have suggested DJ's workforce is an assemblage of replaceable workers who should be grateful the company's contract proposal isn't worse. And rather than present a compensation package that rewards our contributions and brings us closer to parity with such better-paid competitors as the New York Times, they entered the room demanding an array of benefit cuts and reductions in job security, with no acknowledgement of the concessions the workforce already has made during DJ's struggles of the last 15 years.
Perhaps the default objective of management-side representatives at any company is to try to take from employees as much as possible during collective bargaining. We believe, however, that DJ's representatives are seriously undermining your goals for our company. DJ does not require cutbacks in compensation to survive, so in effect the company simply is expressing a desire to transfer wealth from rank and file employees to higher-paid managers who already enjoy an executive bonus pool and other rewards from which we are excluded. DJ's representatives told us this upfront: The company simply has a goal, unconnected to any specific justification, to reduce our compensation in the form of health coverage.
Instead of focusing on improving our business or delivering the best possible product, we are being forced to spend time coming up with ways to protest the company's unfair demands. If somehow the company eventually manages to impose an unfair contract, the cost will be a demoralized workforce of diminished loyalty.
We urge you to intervene with DJ's representatives and make clear that their mission should be your vision: to collaborate with IAPE to come up with a fair compensation package that makes employees perceptibly better off and allows everyone to get back to the business of truly making DJ United. We are sure you will find a reasonable and eager partner on our side.