Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Union Targets Dean Singleton; Guild Accuses His Newspaper of Bad-Faith Bargaining and Union-Busting, Calls the Southern-Born Owner a 'Carpetbagger.' (Conference of Newspaper Unions; Oakland, California, Tribune)

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Union Targets Dean Singleton; Guild Accuses His Newspaper of Bad-Faith Bargaining and Union-Busting, Calls the Southern-Born Owner a 'Carpetbagger.' (Conference of Newspaper Unions; Oakland, California, Tribune)

Article excerpt

THE OAKLAND (CALIF.) Tribune and four other dailies in the Alameda Newspaper Group (ANG) are targets of a union-led consumer and advertising boycott.

The boycott, which newspaper officials termed ineffective, was called by the Alameda County AFL-CIO at the request of the Conference of Newspaper Unions (CNU).

CNU, in turn, acted at the request of the Northern California Newspaper Guild, which has been in negotiation since 1987 with ANG over a contract for editorial, business, delivery and maintenance employees.

The Guild accuses ANG of badfaith bargaining and also has leveled charges against the group of "union-busting, mass firings" and ignoring worker safety, all of which were denied by publisher J. Allan Meath and editor in chief Robert Cochnar.

In an interview, Guild and CNU organizer Richard Holober blamed Dean Singleton for most of labor's problems with ANG, calling him a "Texas carpetbagger who feels no responsibility to workers."

The Southern-born Singleton, who now lives in Colorado, is one of the owners of ANG's parent company, Garden State Newspapers Inc., and is chief executive officer of the Media News Group, which owns the Denver Post and several other newspapers. He negotiated the sale of ANG and the Oakland Tribune to Garden State.

"He [Singleton] has built an empire of newspapers by buying out struggling publications with other people's money and then reducing the work forces, gutting the content of the papers and breaking unions," Holober charged.

CNU asserts that when ANG took over the Tribune Dec. 1, 480 union jobs were cut, an accusation that Meath labeled "ridiculous."

"They are trying to create a problem that isn't there," he continued. "The truth is that we hired 250 people for the new Tribune, 200 of them from the old Tribune [which was owned by Robert and Nancy Maynard]. We didn't lay off anybody. …

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