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Do members of the St. Louis Newspaper Guild read the Post-Dispatch?

Gordon agrees. "The tough part is -- and this is one of our weaknesses -- our communication was not good enough," says the guild president. "We've got to be better at these things, and I'm hoping that Shannon will make us better at the thing we failed to do this time. I think he's the right guy."

The dustup comes at a turbulent time for the guild, which represents a wide range of employees at several local news outlets. Just last month former guild office manager Jeri Russell pleaded guilty to forging a union officer's signature on nearly $8,000 worth of checks. The union is gearing up for negotiations on behalf of guild members at KSDK-TV (Channel 5). And at the Post, which was recently sold by Pulitzer Inc. to Davenport, Iowa-based Lee Enterprises, executives recently offered a so-called voluntary retirement incentive to veteran staffers over age 50.

"It's a tremendous offer," Gordon says of the Post's initiative, which promises a cash incentive of one week's salary for every 26 weeks of service, along with fully vested pension benefits.

But, adds Gordon, it's an offer that might have a negative impact on the newspaper guild: "They're going to replace a bunch of diehard union members. It's going to bring in a lot of new members that don't understand unions, and we'll need someone like Shannon, who can rally people."

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