Salary survey questionnaires are due by Friday 5/1/18

Questionnaires for this year's SNPA Salary Survey are due by Friday. This survey provides good benchmarking data – all at no cost – but your participation is key! Every daily newspaper is encouraged to share data for this study.

Whether you publish a large-circulation paper with all of the positions included in this questionnaire ... or publish a small-circulation daily with a handful of positions: Please share your data for those positions that your newspaper staffs.

Download the survey questionnaire (Excel file)

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Transparency is important in subscription campaigns 4/30/18

By L. Michael Zinser, The Zinser Law Firm

To drive revenue, publishing companies are increasingly producing "premium editions" for their newspapers.

Many legal issues must be considered when preparing newspaper subscription promotions. What you communicate about "premium editions" – the cost and how they impact the length of a newspaper subscription can be critical, legally. These legal issues were brought into sharp focus in a recent lawsuit.

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Jules Ciotta's new book says horizontal leadership is a win-win 4/3/18

Today's leader is being challenged more than ever. "Do it because I said so" is not effective, and the importance of treating employees as customers is key to success.

In his new book titled "The Art of Majoring in Minor Things," organizational psychologist Jules Ciotta says effective leaders need to encourage their workers to share their thinking, even to be free to assertively disagree.

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Help us stop tariffs on newsprint 3/26/18

The Coalition to Stop Tariffs on Printers and Publishers is asking newspapers to take a stand and join the fight against unwarranted preliminary countervailing and antidumping duties imposed this year by the Department of Commerce on Canadian imports of uncoated groundwood paper, which includes newsprint used by newspapers, printers and other publishers. Combined, these duties climb as high as 32 percent.

Here are two ways to help now:

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Arkansas Supreme Court vacates contractor ruling 3/26/18

By L. Michael Zinser, The Zinser Law Firm

On March 1, reversing the Court of Appeals, the Arkansas Supreme Court ruled that a part-time grocery store security guard was an independent contractor, and not an employee, for purposes of Workers' Compensation.

The significance of this decision for newspaper publishers in Arkansas is that the primary factors relied upon by the Arkansas Supreme Court are usually present in the contract relationship between newspaper publishing companies and its independent contractor newspaper carriers.

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Independent contractor status in North Carolina 3/19/18

By L. Michael Zinser, The Zinser Law Firm

Recently, a former newspaper carrier filed a wage claim with the North Carolina Department of Labor, claiming employee status at a daily newspaper in the state. The newspaper carrier filed with the state Department of Labor, rather than federal DOL, because the federal wage and hour law contains a complete exemption for newspaper carriers; the North Carolina wage and hour law does not.

Of course, the newspaper stated that the individual was an independent contractor, not an employee. As part of its investigation, the North Carolina Department of Labor asked the company to provide specific information, in order to determine whether there was an employer/employee relationship.

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NLRB vacates Hy-Brand joint employment liability standard 3/12/18

By L. Michael Zinser, The Zinser Law Firm

On Feb. 26, the NLRB vacated its recent ruling in the Hy-Brand Industrial Contractors case, which overruled the National Labor Relations Board's controversial Browning-Ferris decision.

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Board establishes new test for reviewing employer policies 1/9/18

By L. Michael Zinser, The Zinser Law Firm

In this column, I have been predicting for some time that when all three Republican seats of the five-member National Labor Relations Board were filled by President Trump's appointees, the NLRB would begin reversing/overruling some of the Obama Board's more egregious decisions that demonstrated an outright hostility toward employers.

Chairman Philip A. Miscimarra's term expired on Dec. 17, 2017. On Dec. 14 and 15, Chairman Miscimarra went out "with a bang!"

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Set a good example 12/12/17

By Jules Ciotta

To inspire employees and command respect, always speak and act in the organization's best interests. Here are some tips to help you lead by example.

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Legal adventurism in an attempt to make new law 12/12/17

By L. Michael Zinser, The Zinser Law Firm
By L. Michael Zinser, The Zinser Law Firm

This month's column reports on two National Labor Relations Board administrative law judge decisions involving the issue of whether someone is an employee or an independent contractor. In both cases, former NLRB General Counsel Richard Griffin had urged the ALJ to rule that merely classifying someone as an independent contractor is an independent violation of the National Labor Relations Act. This is legal adventurism in an attempt to make new law.

In one of the cases, the ALJ found independent contractor status and chose not to reach that novel issue. In the second case, the ALJ found employee status and agreed with the NLRB general counsel, finding that the misclassification of the individuals as independent contractors was a per se independent violation of the NLRA. With a new management majority sitting on the NLRB in Washington, let us hope that this legal adventurism will be reversed.

I also report on a new NLRB case involving an employer's texting and confidentiality rules, as well as a new court case addressing the ability to discover social media passwords in litigation.
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