Thursday, January 1, 2015

Lerner Newspapers, Resistance Pro and Me

Recently I started covering Resistance Pro Wrestling for  So far, I have written three pieces for TSS and they have become 3 of the top 6 most viewed stories all-time on TSS.  That is a testament to the popularity of RPro.
My last contribution A New Era in Resistance Pro dealt with the departure of Creative Director Billy Corgan and a few others.  In short, my take is that I do not know the whole story and was not going to speculate.  I wanted to concentrate on the wrestling going forward.  I never claimed to be a hard-hitting journalist, but I certainly was not going to be a gossip monger.
Even with my admittedly vanilla piece, I still received a backlash from a few people.  I am not that sensitive, but I have to admit the negative reaction caught me off guard.  If I had taken sides, slung mud or even voiced any strong opinion, I could see either or both sides being upset, but my piece was neutral to the point of side-stepping the issue.
While I understand the feelings of those, I don't see what I did being offensive to anyone.  RPro has to move on and my job with TSS is to cover RPro.  Once upon a time, I was in a similar position..
I started at Lerner Newspapers in 1987  In 2000, the Chicago Sun-Times (aka the Evil Empire) purchased Lerner.  They would be the fifth owners during my time.  I knew this was not going to be a good thing and in 2003 or so it was announced that we would now be placed under Pioneer Press Newspapers, our former competition.  The writing was on the wall.
A few months later, the great purge began.  About half the staff was fired one day as jobs were folded into Pioneer.
I was promised in writing and verbally by many that if I eased the transitions, I would be allowed to walk away with the severance package as outlined in our corporate handbook.  Even with the promises, I had my doubts, but I still did everything they wanted.
I was forced to go on an interview at the Sun-Times.  I was neither fired by Lerner nor offered a job by the ST.  For three long, uncomfortable days, I was in limbo, sitting in my office doing nothing all day.
Finally, the GM at Pioneer accused me of lying about the lack of an offer from the ST.  Oddly, an offer was immediately faxed from the ST.  The offer was very nebulous and I turned it down and was then fired via fax.
After seventeen years of giving everything I had to Lerner I was out.  Not only that, but my promised severance package was being denied.  The kick in the groin was that the incompetent GM of a couple years earlier had screwed up my vacation schedule and I got screwed out of three weeks vacation.  Additionally, even my last pay check was wrong, shorting me by 20 hours.
In summary, I got shafted out of $35,000 and one of my best friends was given my job.  Several good friends also remained in the company.
I won't lie.  It bothered me to see my friends still there, but I understood their positions and their decisions.  This wasn't their fight.  It was mine.  Eventually, all of my friends left and our friendships have survived.
If I can survive that mess, I can survive this bump in the RPro road.  If my friendships could survive the Lerner experience, my friendships from RPro could survive this period.
Broken relationships always create residual damage.  I am sure it will get worse in this situation before it gets better.  I just hope that people realize what is important and that is friendships and other people.
In the words of Mike Ditka, "This, too, shall pass."  I just hope friendships are not lost in the process.
Me in Willowbrook, IL-September 2014.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Big companies don't care about the little people in the company. It has been my experience too.