Indianapolis Star newspaper guild airs grievances in 'Declaration of Resistance'

INDIANAPOLIS - The guild representing more than 100 employees at the Indianapolis Star filed a "Declaration of Resistance" Friday against Gannett, the paper's parent company.

Citing inflated CEO bonuses, newsroom pay cuts and "a history of repeated layoffs," the declaration, posted to the Indianapolis Newspaper Guild's website, alleges that Gannett has put profit over the welfare of its employees.

"Even as the Corporation remains profitable, even as its stock price has increased tenfold, even as executive bonuses and compensation have remained at obscene levels, the Corporation pleads poverty and that there is nothing left to share with the workers who drive its success," the declaration says.

Styled after the Declaration of Independence, the guild's letter hits on common themes among contemporary newsrooms: senior reporters being driven out for being too old or too expensive; increased stress and workload for remaining employees; and declining wages and benefits.

The letter also laments the loss of veteran reporters to forced layoffs. According to the guild, the Indianapolis Star conducted at least five rounds of force reductions between 2008 and 2013, including the elimination of 81 positions in June of 2011. Sixty two of those positions were eliminated through layoffs, the guild says.

"The Corporation seems willfully blind to the fact that its abuses have driven from the profession a steady arch of experienced and talented workers, many of whom have taken their skills to our digital competitors or other media companies," the guild wrote in its declaration. "The Corporation has welcomed this exodus as a means to further reduce its payroll, a goal that may one day be realized when visitors to our newsroom look around and see only mercenaries of the modern era — an army of temp workers."

A call seeking comment from Gannett was not immediately returned.

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