From Boston.com comes a story that is sounding a little familiar.
"For 34 years, Bill Trowbridge was a sign hanger, one of those guys who puts up billboards."
"Five years ago, the media conglomerate Clear Channel bought the company and tried to make a profitable business more profitable. They offered buyouts that cut the 48 employees in Local 391 of the sign workers in half. But that wasn't enough.
Last March, Clear Channel told the remaining workers that they were unilaterally changing their hours, wages, and benefits. Men who were making $24 an hour, working a 40-hour week, were told they would be paid $15 per sign and would have to hustle to do as many signs as they could, safety be damned, with work hours set arbitrarily by management."
In 2004, the AFL-CIO commissioned a report on Clear Channel by Cornell University, It said, "The study also details at length Clear Channel’s growing web of influence in the political arena, a troubled history of adversarial labor relations and pattern of scofflaw behavior that has resulted in Clear Channel being sanctioned by federal and state agencies. Chelli Penigree, president of Common Cause, singled out the report’s examples of the Clear Channel money trail “which details a carefully crafted, money-driven development of insider connections not only with George W. Bush but with the rest of the Republican-controlled federal government as well.”
The entire report can be found at Clear Channel Final Report. In the Labor Relations section on Page 28, it says that "Clear Channel's business model is based on providing low cost media and entertainment services. The company typically seeks overall labor reductions by consolidating operations and eliminating positions, introducing labor saving technologies, concessionary bargaining with unions, and even pursuing union decertification. These strategies have a negative impact on employment and labor standards in the industry segments where the company operates. "
Are you a Springsteen fan? You won't hear his new album on a Clear Channel. From Fox News. "Bruce Springsteen should be very happy. He has the No. 1 album, a possible Grammy for Best Album of the Year for "Magic," an album full of singles and a sold-out concert tour.
Alas, there’s a hitch: Radio will not play "Magic." "In fact, sources tell me that Clear Channel has sent an edict to its classic rock stations not to play tracks from "Magic." But it’s OK to play old Springsteen tracks such as "Dancing in the Dark," "Born to Run" and "Born in the USA." He's being "Dixie Chicked"
What;s this to do with our little set to? Want to know who's driving this bus? IBDB has the list of shows Clear Channel has done on Broadway, either it or SFX. The SFX that was started by, sold by and bought back at fire sale terms by,Bobby Sillerman. NYT. "Grosses? You don't need no stinkin grosses." This from the NY Times article about the sale. "David Miller, an analyst at Sanders Morris Harris, said the executives had stated on conference calls and in visits with investors that "they were committed to the entertainment business for the long term."Mr. Miller added that "ultimately, what did them in is, the Clear Channel Entertainment brand name doesn't hold a lot of good will in the live entertainment community." This guy Miller has a degree in understatement.
My guess that Clear Channel is quite comfortable with fellow Texan, Charlotte, fronting for them. And just as comfortable that we're out on the street.