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Wednesday, November 29, 2006

PERS talks slated

The Oregonion has learned that disgruntled reporters from the statewide monopoly daily, The Oregonian, have agreed to sit down with a management member to discuss the simmering PERS issue.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, a senior reporter divulged late last week that Stephen Engleberg, one of the dominant news organ's Managing Editors, would be part of an entourage attempting to resolve the spat that threatens to end four decades of non-union labor peace at 1320 SW Broadway.

Reporters, copywriters and other personnel are upset about management's unilateral imposition of the forced use of colloquialisms - even those with which workers disagree. The imbroglio boiled over with the elimination of "PERS" from a list of previously bargained units of measure citations in the Style Guide, and its replacement by the slang "A." The change was made without first sitting down.

As an example, let's say a writer from the Living section submits a story that includes: "At their annual legislative conference in Maui, Our Oregon officials acknowledged that their proposed maximum wage initiative would need to gather 10,000 SIGNATURES PER MONTH." Under the new anti-PERS rule, editors forcibly change the copy to "SIGNATURES A MONTH", amounting to a meaningful, 2/3 cut in letters compared to what had been expected.

The Oregonion's researchers have determined that when rotating responsibility for The Oregonian's award-winning Style Guide among its Managing Editors broke down earlier this year, some Oregonian workers began to voluntarily abandon PERS. At that time, the self-styled "early adopters" dismissed the continuing usage of PERS as "adding to an unfundable liability."

According to the source, rabble rousers first got a foothold among the so-called "holdouts" who waged an effective negative campaign that included sophisticated targeting by Portland pollster Adam Davis, arguing that the anti-PERS initiative was "an unacceptable giveback." Differences were apparently bridged, and solidarity among the factions cemented, at a series of late-night, secret-location meetings over the past several weeks hosted by AFL-CIO chief Tom "Any Other Questions" Chamberlain.

Discussions to set up the pow-wow had been hung up for three main reasons: 1) on style issues such as the shape of the table, b) on substance issues like how many representatives of the organized labor coalition Our Oregon would have seats, and 3) on account of nobody really knowing who is in charge now that Multiple-Standard Syndrome is ravaging executive ranks at The Oregonian.

The source indicated that Engleberg won a concession that all sides had agreed to not refer publicly to the get-together as a "negotiation," but no additional details were forthcoming. The date and location of the confab remain secret, as the talks are exempted from Oregon's Open Meetings Law due to a statute revision adopted by the Legislature last session.

Neither Engleberg nor co-Managing Editors Therese Bottomly and Jack Hart returned phone and email inquiries from The Oregonion.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey wow! this is great. Just stumbled on your blog today. I love it! I unsubscribed to the Oregonian about six years ago and have felt great ever since! When they kept calling me wanting me back I just told them I would never subscribe again because they endorsed George Bush for president.

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