Tag Archives: writers guild East

DNAinfo / Gothamist shut down by CEO : Union busting or Free Enterprise?

On November 6, 2017, the staff of DNAinfo and the Gothamist rallied in NY City Hall Park, in the name of independent journalism. This was after the abrupt shutdown by the owner, founder and CEO, Joe Ricketts. (Ricketts was not only chief executive officer of DNAInfo and Gothamist but also the founder of TD Ameritrade) 

Mayor de Blasio and several city officials expressed support for WGAE’s organizing drive … de Blasio called Ricketts a “coward” for shutting the sites down.

Ricketts shut down all DNAInfo and Gothamist affiliated websites (including DCist and SFist) a week after the National Labor Relations Board conducted a formal vote that resulted in DNAInfo New York and Gothamist employees joining the Writers Guild of America East. The Workers voted to join the union in April, but Ricketts didn’t recognize the union. The NLRB required management to begin collective bargaining with the union. Ricketts shut the sites down instead.” [amsterdam news]”

In September of 2017, Ricketts blogged about why he doesn’t like unions,  “I believe unions promote a corrosive us-against-them dynamic that destroys the esprit de corps businesses need to succeed” which might explain why he would choose to close these businesses before they might fail.”

“Staffers of the now-defunct DNAinfo and Gothamist news sites joined union members, elected officials and others at City Hall Park Monday to call out their owner  (CEO, Joe Ricketts) for the company’s sudden shuttering.

The 30 reporters and editors… proudly wearing their NYPD press badges, said the move was devastating to the New York City communities they covered. “This is an attack on the millions of people who depend on our reporting.” …  Ricketts shut down both news outlets — costing 116 reporters and editors around the country their jobs.” [amny]

Brief Flickr slide show (much more to see in the youtube playlist)

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Is Joe Rickett’s guilty of Union-Busting? Does a business owner have the right to CHOOSE how he spends his capital? Should union thuggery be legal?

Arrived early, so I decided to cover a community center presser that was in process on the steps of City Hall.

This was the birthday of the late Armando Perez, co-founder of Charas/El Bohio.

Today the LES/EV Community celebrated Mayor de Blasio’s announcement to “re-acquire” this building.  deBlasio came through for this community, ‘giving back’ a building (once a school/community center) sold by Giuliani over ten years ago.

“For too long, the old PSD 64/Charas-El Bohio set empty, abandoned, left to rot by an unscrupulous developer only interested in … seeing this beloved landmark destroyed. de Blasio needs to put deeds behind his words; bring this treasured community resource back to its rightful place serving the people of the Lower East Side (LES) and the City of New York.” (Andrew Berman, Exec Dir East Village Community Coalition)

This was a familiar Leftist presser. Home-grown activism. Colorful signs. Handmade (by someone). A papier mache mask (that does not appear to be ‘factory made’). A celebration told through community activism – an out-reach meant for the immigrant community – making them loyal (democrat) party voters.

Flicker Slide show

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But, WHERE was the writer guild protest? Oops. It was City Hall PARK, not City Hall steps.

And there they were. The Writers Guild East pro-union presser behind impenetrable barricades. Had to take a walk around the park to join them.

This woman was our HINT: Protest INSIDE Park – HERE.

Once there, i found a sea of press-badges shilling for a “Free Press”.

Surrounded by writers and editors pushing, jockeying for the best spot to film, take pictures, to cheer each other on.

“When the employees unionized around a week ago, DNAinfo reporter Katie Honan told The New York Times that, “No one’s trying to bankrupt anybody.” She added, “We just want to have an ability to negotiate things and not necessarily money.” [Mashable]

Down with rich, greedy capitalists. Union-Busting must be stopped!

YouTube play list of speakers, their names precede the videos:

Lowell Peterson, Exec Dir Writers Guild America East
Scott Stringer , NYC Comptroller

Stringer impressed some with the “novel” idea that the “workers take control”. Run the shop. Create jobs. The greedy business owner has NO RIGHTS. No right to close “their” business. To open their business? Nor run their business. And definitely NO right to CHOOSE to be a non-union shop. On and On…and ON.

Letitia “Tish “James, NYC Public Advocate
Brendan O’Connor (Warning Profanity) Gizmodo (aka Gawker) Media Group

“FUCK Ricketts,” said a writers guild rep Brendan O’Connor. “If you are not organized in your workplace, get organizing. The workers have the power apart from the union, apart from our elected officials. It’s the worker that decides what happens in this town and this country if we use our power. What happened last week is a single event in a decades long war against workers. It is class warfare.”

Ben Fractenberg, DNAinfo & Emma Whitford, the Gothamist
Vincent Alvarez, President NYC Central Labor Council
Gabrielle Carteris, SAG.AFTRA President
Helen Rosenthal, NYC Councilwoman
Hector Figueroa, 32BJ
Donovan Richards, NYC Councilman
Michael Gianaris, NY State Senator
Writers Guild NYC Union Protest – the crowd

Video playlist begins here:

As I left, pushing my way through this tight mob of FREE press aficionados, I emerged to see those on the perimeter, mainly Fast Food union members.

Once their Union Shakedown accomplished its goal, more money in the union coffers, predictably they created FEWER jobs for the workers.

But, this was NOT greed, so say the union bosses. Only business OWNERS are capable of GREED.

Familiar Commie/Socialist rally-mongers were also hanging on the perimeter.

The “red flags” of shakedown cronyism spewed from mouth to ear: Communism, SI! Free Market Capitalism, NO!

UNIONS claim to be “the Davids” fighting the Capitalist Goliath. (ya think?) Power To The People! WORKERS UNITE!

In conclusion, from the pen of Oleg Atbasian, “Shakedown Socialism”.


The six contradictions of socialism in the USA

  1. America is capitalist and greedy – yet half of the population is subsidized.
  2. Half of the population is subsidized – yet they think they are victims.
  3. They think they are victims – yet their representatives run the government.
  4. Their representatives run the government – yet the poor keep getting poorer.
  5. The poor keep getting poorer – yet they have things that people in other countries only dream about.
  6. They have things that people in other countries only dream about – yet they want America to be more like those other countries.

The TRUTH impedes what the complicit, naive “enemedia” desires: “Shakedown Communism“. We have been warned.

[Pictures and videos property of Pamela Hall]