In a move ostensibly aimed at closing a budget deficit, SCAtoday.net Publisher Justinos Tekton has signed an executive order eliminating collective bargaining rights from SCAtoday.net staff members, and cutting their wages significantly.
A small army of protesters outside the SCAtoday.net corporate office tower in Canton, Ohio, were unable to dissuade the publication's chief executive from making drastic changes to the way staff and management interact. Executive Order 2011-0401 establishes that, "No member of the staff of this publication shall be entitled to bargain collectively with any other to establish wages, working conditions, or benefit compensation." The order goes on to enumerate specific cutbacks in wages as well, with most SCAtoday.net volunteers seeing their hourly rate cut by 40 to 55 percent, depending on their job title and seniority.
Justinos Tekton, founder and Publisher, stated in an interview that, "This publication runs at a budget deficit of over one hundred U.S. dollars annually, and that is simply not a sustainable business model." He added that the elimination of collective bargaining rights will allow SCAtoday.net to, quote, "Fully exploit every last spark of life out of our serfs, draining their very spirits in pursuit of ever increasing returns to our Most Noble Shareholders." When asked to describe a typical shareholder, Tekton responded with remarkable candor, stating, "Actually, you are looking at the only one."
Staff volunteers are understandably irked by the sudden change in policy. Several of them gnawed through their restraints and climbed out of the slave pits to protest this action by the man they call "Czar Justin the Insufferable." Over one hundred rag-clad serfs were dwarfed by the magnificent edifice of SCAtoday.net's new corporate office tower as they carried signs with protest slogans. One sign read "SIC SEMPER TYRANNIS" on one side and "TEKTON TYRANNIS EST" on the other. Another said "PEASANTS NOT PROFITS!", and still another was emblazoned, "AZURE, A SLOGAN SABLE CHANCERY BOLD". The bearer of the last sign told this reporter that, quote, "This event heralds a new era at SCAtoday.net. No more chivalry -- this is war!" Other protest signs read, "WHO MADE YOU PUBLISHER? I DIDN'T VOTE FOR YOU!" and "HELP! WE ARE BEING REPRESSED!" One protester, who declined to be give her name, said simply, "There's some lovely muck over here."
Fearing reprisals that could range from flogging to public humiliation, most staff members were reluctant to be interviewed, but a few brave souls consented. Editor-In-Chief Milica of Varna, wife of Justinos Tekton himself, surprised everyone by joining the protest movement rather than siding with her despotic overlord husband. Varna said, "I do over a thousand stories every year, and I'm worth ten times what that elitist snob pays me!" Reporter Sabine Berard, noted for her frequent historical stories, said, "That jerk wants history? I'll give him history! He's gonna be history when I get through with him! No offense, how ya doin'?"
Criers from King Rupert of Mer-dock's Jackal News, reputed to be the most balanced and fair town criers anywhere, described scenes of violence as millions of unwashed staff members shouted obscenities, kicked puppies, and set fire to several thousand of northern Ohio's famed tropical palm trees that line the flagstone-paved streets in front of the SCAtoday.net corporate tower.
When asked about the need for this drastic measure, Tekton was unrepentent and unsympathetic to the protesters. "They just have to understand that we face a three-digit budget deficit every year, and we have to cut costs somewhere. These overpaid slackers need to quit whining and get back to work before I send the Visigoths out to teach them a lesson! These scum are already overpaid -- why, with their simple peasant minds, they should be grateful I don't make them pay me for the privilege of working here!"
Tekton himself is taking no pay cut at all, and will retain his multi-trillion-dollar annual compensation package. When asked about the disparity between this and the plight of his staff, Tekton invoked economic theory to justify his actions. "It's all about supply and demand," he said. "Millions of people are willing to stand in line for days in the hot desert sun or the pouring rain for the privilege of working for me. On the other hand, if I don't pay myself a vast sum of money, then in the competitive labor market I would be unable to attract and retain my talented self for this vital management position." It was then pointed out to him that his management skill is largely to blame for the publication's budget deficit, but he remained firm in his conviction, stating, "Yes, with my steady hand at the helm, we consistently lose a little money every year. If I were not so brilliant, we could lose much, much more. In fact, several major banks on Wall Street are trying to hire me because my management skills are so compatible with their own."
Staff members maintain that the wage cuts and collective bargaining elimination are not necessary, and that there are other ways to close the budget gap. "He could take advertising like we do," said Heirusalem Crystoma, Publisher of rival publication Pennsic Independent and part-time consultant to SCAtoday.net. "We manage to stay in business, and our generous benefits package includes all the Chocolate Chaucer's our staff can drink. In fact, some of them say that benefit is so good they work at the PI just for that alone! Which gives me an idea..." she mused, as she pulled out a calculator and began tapping the "minus percent" key sequence repeatedly.
Sabine Berard, a long-time history reporter at SCAtoday.net, claims that "Czar Justin is just trying to bust the union." She says, "He has always wanted to get rid of the Proofreaders, Editors, Opinionators, and Newsgatherers (PEONs) Union, and this is just an excuse!"
Sitting in a fine hand-carved mahogany chair made by Herman Miller and Sons, Chairmakers to the King of England, and gazing out from the tower parapet across his vast commercial empire, "Czar Tekton" merely stroked his goatee and laughed maniacally today as the serfs below lit their torches. "My tower is stone," he gloated, "and these idiots don't realize that isn't flammable." When asked what he would do about plummeting morale among the underpaid staff, Tekton said, "Where there's a whip, there's a way. The floggings will continue until morale improves!"