Home Journalists Use Facebook as Bargaining Tool

Journalists Use Facebook as Bargaining Tool

Facebook is used for a lot of things. Family contact, business advertising, non-profit planning and municipal information among others. Drag queens, belt buckle artists and the Catholic Church all use it.

Now, employees of the Detroit Media Partnership, which includes the Detroit Free Press and the Detroit News, and are using Facebook to Say No to -12%.

In an area rocked by persistent declines in central industries, like automobile manufacture, a group of Detroit journalists are being asked to accept a 12% wage cut. Unwilling to do so, they’re publishing their distress to 100 Facebook friends and interested visitors.

In his Sunday introductory post, page administrator Matt Helms, a journalist with the Detroit Free Press, explained the situation.

“We’re in negotiations now with the Detroit Media Partnership, which wants 12% pay cuts, a wage freeze (which we’ve had for two years) and higher worker payments for a crappier health care plan than we’ve already got. We’ve already kissed raises goodbye, switched to a less-than-good health care system …and took furloughs while the higher ups in corporate get raises and bonuses. Enough is enough.”

The newspaper industry has itself been in declinefor quite some time. But a commenter, Steve Nealing, noted a discrepancy.

“While Gannett CEO Craig Dubow slashed thousands of jobs last year without regard to newsroom quality, he took home $4.4 million, up from $3.1 million in 2008. And he wants to cut the salaries of hard-working journalists by 12% and gut health care coverage while he pockets a 41% raise? Dubow, that’s how you spell the demise of newspapers.”

Is this page just a place to air grievances and blow off steam, or can it be used to sway public opinion? Will it prove to be a powerful way to funnel unwelcome attention on the Gannett chain’s demands or a less-than-passing annoyance? As much as Facebook has grown, does the management of an old-guard chain even understand how much attention it can focus on a labor dispute most won’t have been aware of?

Rich Harshbarger, Vice President for Consumer Marketing and Communications for Detroit Media Partnership, the company that manages business functions for The Detroit News and Detroit Free Press, responded. Sort of. (The first sentence is strange, but the second is pretty standard.)

“Social media is a communications tool for companies and organizations to share information almost immediately. It would be inappropriate for Detroit Media Partnership to comment further while negotiations are ongoing.”

What do you think of the use of social media in labor issues? Valuable tool or time-out room?

About ReadWrite’s Editorial Process

The ReadWrite Editorial policy involves closely monitoring the tech industry for major developments, new product launches, AI breakthroughs, video game releases and other newsworthy events. Editors assign relevant stories to staff writers or freelance contributors with expertise in each particular topic area. Before publication, articles go through a rigorous round of editing for accuracy, clarity, and to ensure adherence to ReadWrite's style guidelines.

Get the biggest tech headlines of the day delivered to your inbox

    By signing up, you agree to our Terms and Privacy Policy. Unsubscribe anytime.

    Tech News

    Explore the latest in tech with our Tech News. We cut through the noise for concise, relevant updates, keeping you informed about the rapidly evolving tech landscape with curated content that separates signal from noise.

    In-Depth Tech Stories

    Explore tech impact in In-Depth Stories. Narrative data journalism offers comprehensive analyses, revealing stories behind data. Understand industry trends for a deeper perspective on tech's intricate relationships with society.

    Expert Reviews

    Empower decisions with Expert Reviews, merging industry expertise and insightful analysis. Delve into tech intricacies, get the best deals, and stay ahead with our trustworthy guide to navigating the ever-changing tech market.