Politics Unusual: It’s News to Me

"Union ratifies new contract with Star-Ledger."
AP Newswire

"New Jersey cannot lose its' only paper!" cry readers. This, according to news stories in the Bergen Record, Courier News, Asbury Park Press, the Press of Atlantic City and the New Jersey section of The New York Times.

Teamsters Local 1100, which represents 400 Star-Ledger mailers [or it might be Teamsters Local 400 representing 1100 Star-Ledger mailers, I can never remember], voted on a contract ratification. One-hundred eighty-three voted for the ratification, 18 voted to oppose and 75 abstained.

Out of those who abstained, 32 abstained because they could not support the agreement; 31 abstained because they could not support "not supporting" the ratification, and the remaining 12 abstained because they had no opinion. Out of the 12 who had no opinion, six had no opinion because they really did not care; five had no opinion because they did not under stand the question, and the remaining one was in the men's room. The vote was to ratify a new labor contract that agrees to a three-year freeze on wages and a ‘buyout' of almost 100 members. Sixty-two of the members who voted wondered why they were "buying out," and if it is easier to "buy-in."

George Arwady, the publisher of the state's largest newspaper, said "We are now getting smaller." When asked how much "smaller" the paper would get, he declined to give an exact measurement, saying only that "it would be bigger than a bread box."

"Our future plans include a movement in this direction. Over the coming months, the paper will move from "small" to "tiny," and then eventually to "teeny tiny." And if things get really, really bad, we will have no choice but to move to "itsy-bitsy." But Arwady guaranteed that no matter what size the paper would be, he reminded readers that the Star-Ledger would always abide by their slogan, "All the news that fits, we print."

Arwady declared that the Star-Ledger would be "sold" if the union did not ratify the contract. If that did not work out, maybe they would try "renting" or "leasing," if the two unions didn't ratify new agreements, and if 200 additional employees didn't agree to a buyout or maybe a bye-out. "That's where some employees say ‘bye', and just leave."

U.S. Sen. Evan Bayh of Indiana, reacting to the news of "buy-outs" at the Star-Ledger, issued a statement through his spokesperson, indicating that he had "no comment."

Other money saving possibilities proffered by Arwady include printing the paper even days only; bifurcating "news" and "paper", and printing the news one day, and having a blank paper the next. Other cost saving suggestions including eliminating the hyphen between "Star" and "Ledger"; printing the paper with no punctuation whatsoever, and increasing advertising space to include "The entire paper." All of those are currently being considered by management if the situation gets any worse. The union also suggested that Arwady himself take a pay cut. Arwady was laughing too much to answer the question.

Joey Novick is an attorney, professional stand-up comedian, professional keynote speaker, and a former 12 year Councilman in Flemington, NJ. From 1996-2000, he served as the County Chair of the Hunterdon County Democratic Committee. As a stand-up comedian and improv actor, Joey has appeared on MTV, Comedy Central, Rascal's Comedy Hour and One Life to Live, and most recently, with "Laughing Liberally". He has opened in concert and at comedy club dates for such comedy notables as Jerry Seinfeld, Robert Klein, Lewis Black, Rosie O'Donnell and Ray Romano. He is currently developing a one-man show about life, laughter and local government in the Garden State, tentatively entitled, "Trentoon".

His blog, NJPoliticsUnusual.com, has been informing NJ's political insiders for almost "two-thirds of a fiftieth of a century," and has recognized by Campaigns & Elections and SNJ Business People. The New York Times, AP Newswire, Washington Post, Newark Star-Ledger, ABC News and National Public Radio have all been kind enough to mention his work in comedy and politics every now and then. Joey appears monthly on News-12's "Power & Politics", sharing his keen insights on NJ's elected officials, and has chaired a panel on political humor for the New Jersey State League of Municipalities every year since 1995. He has taken his political humor on the road across the nation, appearing at state municipal league conferences in New York, Maine, Connecticut, Nevada, West Virginia, New Mexico, Colorado, Kentucky and Rhode Island; as well as at the National League of Cities Conference. His mother, Pearl, lives in Florida, plays canasta almost every day, and is very glad Joey visits her on a regular basis.

 

Politics Unusual: It’s News to Me