If the CWA does buy a piece of the newspaper chain that owns the Philadelphia Inquirer and other properties, the conflict of its members’ interests seems to be an obvious one.
The largest union at The Inquirer’s parent company is having “ongoing discussions” with about six potential partners to join the bidding for the company, a union executive testified Wednesday.
The possible bidders include the Communications Workers of America and multimillionaire Raymond Perelman, according to Bill Ross, executive director of the Newspaper Guild of Greater Philadelphia.
Perelman also questioned how operating a paper with its largest union as an owner would work. “How are they going to negotiate work rules and pay rates if they’re the owners?” he said. “I don’t think it can be done.”
The CWA is the international parent union of the Newspaper Guild, which represents nearly 500 IGM employees in the news, advertising, finance, and other departments at The Inquirer, the Philadelphia Daily News, and Philly.com.
If the CWA is both The Bossand the workers’ representative, some other, rather obvious questions emerge, like:
Can union members who are also shareholders strike their own company? and…
If a member has a grievance against his supervisor, is it more likely that the union steward will side with the Company (which is owned by the union)?