Roots of the Citizens Voice Newspaper

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Aubrey Duesler, Staff Writer

The Citizens Voice began after Times Leader employees went on strike in 1978. The Times Leader has been around since 1879 and was not contested for about 100 years. In 1978, the Times Leader was bought out by a company called Capital Cities. This buyout did not benefit the union workers at all, so they decided to go on strike. They were fighting for living wages and workers’ rights.

This strike started at 5 pm on Friday, October 6th, 1978. By Monday morning, October 9th, 1978, the first edition of the Citizens Voice was published. The strike did not end, however, it became a nationwide event. ¨People from all over the country were contributing,¨ John Duesler, one of the founding members of the Citizens Voice, said.

Since it became a nationwide event, they received many donations such as typewriters, printing necessities, and even monetary donations. The strike had so much support that the Capital City group brought in the Wackenhut guards.

Duesler said, ¨These guys were like their security blanket.¨ The guards were there to make sure that the buildings didn’t get ransacked.

Although that was never the intention of the strike. Before the strike, the workers were negotiating for livable wages for 2 years. ¨We pleaded with these people to just sit down and talk,¨ Duesler explained. Capital City wanted to take away their medical, sick days and decrease their wage as well.

When starting the Citizens Voice, they had a small building in Plymouth. The building was so small and they didn’t have enough resources to print the paper. ¨If we printed the paper in that building,¨ Duesler said ¨it would’ve taken a week to do so.¨

John Duesler was an employee for the Times Leader for 15 years before the strike occurred. He was a union man, like most of his other coworkers, so when the strike happened, he knew what he had to do.

To this day, Duesler, and the others who were involved with the strike, remember who crossed the picket line. When the Citizens Voice took off, they realized that they made the correct decision.

Although their strike was primarily about living wages, it turned into more of a human rights issue. ¨We made about the same amount of money at the Citizens Voice, but we were our own boss, so it was worth it.¨