Union warns ‘Philadelphia Inquirer’ employees to be ‘careful what you say’

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Stormy weather at 'The Philadelphia Inquirer.' ()
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The union that represents hundreds of employees at the embattled Philadelphia Inquirer has a warning for them.

"It has become painfully clear that your work emails and emails from other accounts that you open up on your work computer, can be read, and in some cases are being read, by managers and owners of this company," wrote Howard Gensler, president of the executive board of the Newspaper Guild's TNG-CWA Local 38010 and Bill Ross, the union's executive director, in a memo obtained by Capital.

"BE VERY CAREFUL WHAT YOU SAY in email correspondence, tweets, Facebook posts, etc.," the note said, "especially with regard to comments about the present in-fighting and management/ownership personnel and your colleagues."

The memo reflects the dour mood that has descended on the Inquirer's newsroom since editor-in-chief William K. Marimow was ousted last week.

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The co-owners, a cabal of political and business power brokers who acquired the paper and its sister titles, The Philadelphia Daily News and philly.com, in August 2012, are now accusing one another of meddling in The Inquirer's editorial affairs.

Co-owners Gerry Lenfest and Lewis Katz have filed a lawsuit against parent company Interstate General Media and publisher Bob Hall over Marimow's firing.

Closed-door talks about the litigation were held yesterday with Guild representatives.

"Our conclusion: These owners couldn't agree on what day it was," Ross and Gensler wrote in their memo this morning. "The dysfunction and disagreement applied to every aspect of the conversations, from the little facts to the big ones."

You can read the full memo below:

"Stay out of it."

Those were the words of advice from Gerry Lenfest to the Guild executive board yesterday afternoon regarding our continuing neutrality in the lawsuit filed by Lenfest and owner Lewis Katz against publisher Bob Hall and the company over the firing of Inquirer editor Bill Marimow and the retention of Hall.

The Guild board spent more than two-and-a-half hours listening to the side of owner George Norcross and another hour-twenty listening to Katz and Lenfest.

Our conclusion: These owners couldn't agree on what day it was.

The dysfunction and disagreement applied to every aspect of the conversations, from the little facts to the big ones. There was so little common ground in the recounting of the various events of the preceding months that we are left where we were on Tuesday: Figure it out, boys, or let a judge do it, and don't waste a lot of our furlough giveback money doing it.

One other note to members: It has become painfully clear that your work emails and emails from other accounts that you open up on your work computer, can be read, and in some cases are being read, by managers and owners of this company. BE VERY CAREFUL WHAT YOU SAY in email correspondence, tweets, Facebook posts, etc., especially with regard to comments about the present in-fighting and management/ownership personnel and your colleagues.

In solidarity,

Bill Ross, Executive Director
Howard Gensler, President
Executive Board of the Newspaper Guild
TNG-CWA Local 38010