Two Quick Hits

As earlier passed along on our Twitter feed

EXITING CHARLOTTE: Details are scarce right now, but trade site AllAccess reports that not that terribly long after he arrived, Mike Kenney is no longer market manager of Clear Channel’s Charlotte cluster.

AllAccess reports that OM Bruce Logan steps in as interim GM of the company’s Queen City (North Carolina, that is) cluster.

We’re following the news here, of course, because it’s been just a few months since Kenney arrived in Charlotte from Northeast Ohio. He left his post as market manager of Clear Channel’s Cleveland cluster in late August 2009.

We got the impression at the time that Kenney was hurried to Charlotte to “fix things up” there.

His departure from the Charlotte cluster, AllAccess says, was announced much like his predecessor’s exit – in a quick E-mail this morning.

By the way, we’ve double-checked our own archives, which include clips from official releases out of Oak Tree, and Mike Kenney’s last name is indeed spelled with two “e”‘s…

STRIKE ON NOTICE: Newsroom employees of the Akron Beacon Journal authorized their union – the Akron Newspaper Guild – to strike last night, though that doesn’t mean a strike is imminent…and negotiations are apparently still ongoing.

The union continues to point out that the Black Press-owned daily is “not pleading poverty” – it just wants to pay union members lower wages…saying that newsroom managers and non-union employees aren’t being asked to take cuts.

A release from the union, which was helpfully sent to our mailbox by the union last night, is reprinted below:

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Feb. 10, 2010

AKRON NEWSPAPER GUILD TAKES STRIKE AUTHORIZATION VOTE

Contact: Stephanie Warsmith, secretary of the Akron unit, at 330-328-8566

The Akron unit of the Newspaper Guild overwhelmingly approved a strike authorization vote Wednesday evening. There was just one dissenting vote cast.

The vote gives the Guild’s bargaining committee the authority to strike if and when the committee thinks it’s necessary. The Guild recognizes the challenges facing the newspaper industry and has been open to discussing possible solutions.

“The last thing we want is a strike but we are willing to do whatever is necessary to secure a fair contract that reflects the valuable contributions of our members,’’ said Bob DeMay, the Guild’s president and an assistant photo editor at the Akron Beacon Journal.

The Guild and company have been negotiating for more than a year, with the union’s members operating under the terms of a contract that expired in July 2008.

The Beacon Journal is asking the Guild to accept concessions that would equate to a 25 to 30 percent decrease in wages and benefits, including a 16.75 percent pay cut, a pension freeze, a larger share of health care costs and a change to sick pay that would be worse than what WalMart offers.

The company’s lead negotiator told the Guild negotiating team that the newspaper isn’t pleading poverty but simply doesn’t want to continue paying at the current levels. Newsroom managers – among the highest paid employees in the newsroom — and non-union employees elsewhere in the building, are not being asked to accept similar cuts. The newspaper also is hiring for positions outside the newsroom. The company has refused the Guild’s repeated requests to open its books.

The Guild represents about 85 reporters, copy editors, photographers, assistant editors, page designers, artists, sports statisticians, librarians and secretaries – a number slashed more than 50 percent over the past 10 years through layoffs, buyouts and attrition.

Guild members annually win state and national awards, earning the newspaper respect and recognition.

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