Folk hero in-the-making

CEO Mary Junk‘s frankly absurd bonus of $700,000 for [yet again] refinancing an $800 million debt has led a long-time employee at Lee Enterprises’ most storied newspaper Lee’s St. Louis operation to quit in protest. Post-Dispatch columnist Bill McClellan (as passed along at Jim Romenesko) recounts the story of resigning carpenter Scott Bujnak:

Workers have suffered while the big bosses have prospered. Pensions were long ago frozen. Mandatory unpaid furloughs were introduced. Layoffs were the worst. Families were ravaged. Yet, it was the small things that got to Bujnak…

Who will play Bujnak in the movie version? Too soon to say. But for now there’s a folk song developing, which begins

Scott Bujnak

Scott Bujnak

“Twas the straw that broke the camel’s back”… 

Sez disgusted lead carpenter Scott Bujnak…

Another bonus for old Mary Junck…

Somep’n, somep’n…

Rhymes with clunk…

It’s a work-in-progress

People respect honest work, and Ms. Junck collecting outsize bonuses for simply doing another refinancing is neither honest nor fair. It’s demoralizing to everyone below her in the organization. That Ms. Junk has continued to accept these awards-fer-doing-nuthin’-special is nice for her, but is in every other way bad for morale and bad for business. In fact, we’ll go further. The only way we can understand these bonuses for Junk and her chief financial officer is that they aren’t planning for the enterprise to survive, at least not with them at the helm, and they are instead looting in plain sight taking profits, now, while they still can.