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still no news a bout ough the company was at City uick approval of its abatement request. VIA-TV, El Paso’s ABC-affiliate, and e same information I had given the Times. The TV reporters thought the Mediacopy story was important and newsworthy; they were astonished and mystified that the Times hadn’t picked it up. The news broke the next day on television and stayed there the rest of the week. Meanwhile, the El Paso Times did not publish a critical word about Mediacopy until Saturday, January 10. By then, the company had won abatements from two taxing entities that had no idea about the company’s checkered past. Later I spoke with Jim Weddell, the El Paso Times business page editor, and asked him why the paper had been mum on Mediacopy. “These kinds of stories take a long time,” he said, and when I reminded him that KVIA got it out in less than two days, Weddell called their reporting “shit.” Later, he said he would put himself “on a sword, and tell you we should have done it sooner.” The paper’s most recent comment on the company came in a January 19 editorial, headlined, “Welcome, Mediacopy.” The next local labor story probably won’t make it into the Times, either early or late. For the past several months, members of Graphic Communications International Union, Local No. 139 the workers who operate the Times’ printing presses have been in contract negotiations with the company. Local Union President David Avila says his members have been working eight years without a contract, and that their current pay, $12 an hour, is a third less than the average wage Gannett pays press operators nationally. El Paso’s pressmen are asking for $14 an hour, but negotiations are stalled. The union is considering striking in a few weeks. If it does, Avila says, the Times will most likely import scab employees to take the place of striking union pressmen. And the paper will, no doubt, produce even less labor converge than it did with Mediacopy. D.N. At the company’s proposed East Side facility, rsums were already being solicited when the news broke earlier this month about the company’s labor and immigration problems. Local union leaders were outraged, and County Commissioner Carlos Aguilar III said he would introduce a resolution before the Commissioners Court to repeal Mediacopy’s tax abatement. At an eleventh-hour, private powwow with Mediacopy on January 14, however, Aguilar agreed to abandon the repeal, after the company said it would increase fringe benefits for jobs listed in its abatement application. Just what those new benefits are, however or whether they really exist is a mystery. Aguilar’s office did not respond when asked for details, and Economic Development head Franco would not let the Observer examine Mediacopy’s paperwork. In response to a Texas Open Records Act request, the city attorney, citing an Attorney General’s opinion, said abatement applications are not subject to the open records law. Meanwhile, El Paso Community College, Thomason Hospital, and the Socorro Independent School District have yet to approve tax abatements for Mediacopy. The Mediacopy employees interviewed said they wanted to pass a message to El Pasoans interested in working for their boss. “Don’t trust the company at all,” one says. Adds another, “Be very careful and don’t sign anything until you know what’s going on.” Observer contributing writer Debbie Nathan is based in El Paso. PFQ COMPUTING “THE PASSION FOR QUALITY” We’d like to share our passion with you… SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT. For applications in medicine, law, business, commerce. PCs especially. Client/server, Web. Visual Basic, Visual C++, Visual Modeler, VBScript, ActiveX, Java, Microsoft Active Server Pages, SQL Server, other ODBC databases, Microsoft Merchant Server, Microsoft Access 97, and Visual InterDev, others. Windows 95/NT, Unix, DOS. NETWORK INSTALLATION AND MAINTENANCE. Whether you’re using Novell or NT, Ethernet or Token Ring, BNC or Cat 5, 10 megabit or 100, LAN or WAN, you need our expert installation and maintenance. MCSE and CNA engineering staff. WEB DEVELOPMENT AND DESIGN. Third generation design, combining graphics excellence with software hand tuning to create faster loading web pages that keep visitors coming back. MANAGEMENT SCIENCE. We can, at your option, go further than simple software design: we can evaluate, formulate, and “clean up” your business rules, to gain efficiencies by looking at the human side of your organization and the interaction between your people and your technologies. call 22 22 THE TEXAS OBSERVER JANUARY 30, 1998