Locked out Detroit paper workers dog Gannett Corporation
Locked-out Detroit Newspaper worker Dennis Nazelli shares news from the front lines of the war against the corporate media and their use and abuse of their workers.
Dennis Nazelli
May/June 2000

Gannett stock holders were greeted by locked-out Detroit Newspaper workers for the fifth year in a row at the annual shareholders' meeting May 2 in their Arlington, VA headquarters. With Gannett shares of stock or proxies obtained from supporting shareholders, locked-out newspaper workers use this once-a-year opportunity to admonish the highest authorities in the Gannett chain of command, from CEO, John Curley, to his brother, Tom, Publisher of USA Today to John Jaske, Senior VP of Labor Relations, to their corporate gadfly, Ms. Evelyn Davis.

It was my first shareholders' meeting. The great thing about this opportunity is the Gannett hierarchy has to listen to our blistering oral assault.

Below is the text from the first salvo:

GOOD MORNING. What would a Gannett Shareholders meeting be without a few comments from you favorite locked-out/fired Detroit Newspaper workers?

Two days ago, the United States commemorated the 25-year anniversary of its worst military debacle. The Gannett scorched-earth policy in Detroit, Michigan still rages on against your workers at the Detroit News and Free Press. This labor dispute is very reminiscent of that ignominious Vietnamese war. I promise that your reign of napalm on your union workers will be remembered by the entire community much longer than a 25th Anniversary.

I am not going to waste time appealing to your bankrupt code of principles. (By the way, Mr. Curley, just when are you planning to implement the Gannett "Principles of Ethical Conduct" in Detroit?) Instead I want to report that your 5-year Pogrom of union cleansing is now calculated at over one billion dollars in unreclaimable revenues, legal expenses, security costs and total mismanagement. And, as yet unfactored are the millions of dollars in back wages payable to all of the illegally locked-out and fired workers.

Legally, your ability to drag this labor dispute through our court system will finally end Thursday, May 4, at the District Court of Appeal in Washington, DC, the three-judge panel will listen to your lawyers for the final time. As you know, John, Gannett has been found guilty of causing the 1995 strike. You have been ordered to return your workers to their jobs, make them whole with their back pay, and remove the illegal replacement workers if necessary. The appellate court will again affirm these verdicts.

By the way, locally Gannett has lost or settle out of court the many personal injury cases against you and your agents, Vance Security and the Sterling Heights Police Department. In a case involving a supporter, the chief of police for Sterling heights had some very interesting testimony. Under oath, Chief Durocha testified that Gannett's Senior Vice President of Labor Relations, John Jaske, ordered the loaded newspaper trucks to crash through the chained and padlocked gates of the Gannett printing plant on or about September 9, 1995. In a cell phone conversation, the chief informed Senior VP Jaske that it was not a good time to depart. Jaske ordered the trucks regardless of this warning and subsequently your news trucks mowed down many legally picketing strikers and supporters. Now that these facts have been entered onto the public record, those innocent victims of your greed are lining up with lawyers of your own.

Mr. Curley, you better keep the Gannett checkbook open, cause it aint over till we say it's over.

No less than five minutes after our last speaker, John Curley, CEO of Gannett, announced that he was quitting. I would like to think it was because of our menacing him these past years.

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