...continued from page 6
"We had been negotiating with the unions back in 1976 on the renewal of contracts. Those negotiations stalled and we weren't getting anywhere," McIntyre said. "In 1977, right after the time I became publisher, we brought in some outside pressmen."
Initially brought in to assist with problems happening with the paper's pressroom, where the paper is printed, the move caused issues with the union members that were already working there. On December 29, 1977, the pressman's union went on strike.
"That's an odd time to strike," McIntyre said. "The Christmas business is over. The heaviest advertising time of the year is over, and it's the middle of winter. So, when they walked out, the newspaper guild, which was the editorial department, walked out in support of them. The other unions didn't, so we continued to publish the paper."
In order to continue publishing, the newspaper hired new editorial staff and brought in people from their other papers to run the presses. With publication of the paper still going strong, and a Sunday edition added to the mix, the company was able to rid the two unions from the newspaper.
"The aftermath, and this wasn't our choice, but what happened, but none of the people that struck, in either union, ever came back to work," McIntyre said. "There wasn't any prohibition to them coming back. Technically, the strike is still there, but a substantial number of them were replaced. We had to replace 90 percent of the people in the newsroom."
By 1979, CapCities had become one of the most profitable publicly-owned media companies in the country. It had also earned a reputation for breaking unions at other papers, the same as it did at The Oakland Press, by bringing in outside workers to cross picket lines.
"For a year, we had to move trucks through the picket line, and sometimes it got pretty nasty. People who worked there and continued to work there took a lot of abuse. I don't mean physical abuse, they just took constant abuse going to work," McIntyre said. "There were efforts to try to cut our circulation, but we never lost any substantial circulation. We never lost any substantial advertising. And, while the strike was still going on, we started the Sunday paper."
On the inside, McIntyre said Capital Cities executives left their editors to operate on their own. As publisher, he said the paper was always profitable, and budgets to corporate were simply submitted and approved. Neither Burke nor Meek had any interest in inserting themselves into the journalism process, McIntyre said....continued on page 8