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An Open Letter to Gannett, McClatchy and Tribune:

As corporate owners of, it should be of concern to you that a company you oversee promotes hiring discrimination against unemployed Americans.

A recent study by the National Employment Law Project found that employers of all sizes, staffing agencies and online job posting firms such as are using recruitment and hiring policies that expressly deny employment to the unemployed – simply because they are not working. The NELP study identified more than 150 ads that openly discriminate based on employment status. The overwhelming majority of the discriminatory ads required that applicants “must be currently employed.”

This practice is egregious and must end at once. The newspapers and other holdings that you own would never, one would hope, say “African Americans need not apply” or “Jews need not apply.”

It is unfair and outrageous that any company in this era of widespread unemployment would explicitly ban jobless workers from employment.

The practice of hiring discrimination against the unemployed is deepening the pain for millions of Americans who have suffered the brunt of the economic crisis. This discrimination actually causes additional harm to the economy because it squanders the skills and experience of unemployed workers. If these workers are not hired, it in turn reduces consumption (because unemployed workers spend less) and increases public cost (for example, through unemployment insurance).

Records show that the Gannett Company owns 50.9 percent of; the Tribune Company 30.8 percent and the McClatchy Company 14.4 percent.

USAction, a federation of 22 state affiliates that is campaigning for good jobs for America and an economy that works for all of us, has mounted an online petition campaign demanding that companies no longer discriminate against unemployed workers. So far, more than 25,000 people have signed our petition.

USAction has delivered letters to corporate executives of and, asking the companies to reject advertising that discriminates. Although we understand that the discriminatory wording of these ads was written by the employers themselves, discrimination against the unemployed is no more justified than ads that employers historically placed excluding the hiring of people of color or women or people of certain religions. Just as employers should not discriminate, online job posting firms such as should reject ads that discriminate.

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Comment Preferences

  •  there ought to be a law... Hey, there's a bill! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elwior, delliot, Cedwyn

    read about it on the blog at

    Senate Bill Introduced to Prohibit Discrimination Against Unemployed Job-seekers

    Not Ideas about the Thing but the Thing Itself - Wallace Stevens

    by catchlightning on Wed Aug 03, 2011 at 01:20:50 PM PDT

  •  McClatchy is also guilty (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    of hiring overseas labor to replace American workers.  It seems they can't afford to run a newspaper and hire Americans.

    That can mean only one thing: Republicans think all the jobs are trapped inside women's uteruses. - BiPM

    by Jensequitur on Wed Aug 03, 2011 at 02:01:18 PM PDT

  •  I don't know that I'd do what you ask... (0+ / 0-)

    ...if I were running one of those companies—and for the same reason that Daily Kos will run any (non-obscene/legal) ad the networks send the site.

    If these companies start rejecting want-ads not because they break any laws protecting legally-protected groups (as want-ads with racial, gender, non-disability, etc. preferences would) but because of a standard that isn't covered under law, aren't they then suggesting that every want-ad that does appear on the site has an implicit endorsement from the site?

    That might open them up to lawsuits, to say nothing of other non-protected groups (like, say, people without college degrees) who would want these companies to reject want-ads that they say discriminate against them (like any job that required a college degree).

    Advocating for a law giving the unemployed legal protection against hiring discrimination is, I think, the better route to take here... though, if we're honest, it's not like it's going to change the practices of companies that are currently hiring only employed people. It's just going to result in their finding slightly more creative pretexts to file away the resumés of the unemployed without considering them.

  •  It is absolutely ridiculous (0+ / 0-)

    and insulting as well, to equate a company's preference to only interview the currently employed to the shameful legacy of racial discrimination.

    There is NO correlation between the two.

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