Published reports, including one on al.com, say that Bronson, 72, claims owner Advance Publications was wrong to tell him last month he was retiring in two weeks.
Bronson's suit, filed Friday in Mobile, seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages against defendants including Mark Newhouse, a member of the Newhouse family that bought the paper in 1966.
Bronson said Newhouse officials in July 2009 reneged on a longstanding job security pledge for the paper's employees (staffs told in August) and in August told him that he had two weeks to leave.
Bronson's unhappiness with the furloughs and other changes at Advance newspapers has been reported in a number of blogs and Tweets.
For example, one blog post included:
According to inside sources, there have been a couple of developments related to the company’s economic climate. First, publisher Howard Bronson apparently told employees at a company meeting that if he’s forced to do furloughs again he’ll opt for straight pay cuts equivalent to the loss of 10 working days. Earlier this year it was announced that P-R employees will have to take furloughs without pay. Whether this new method of cutting pay will come into play is unclear.
An article about Bronson's retirement on Al.com said that he joined the Press-Register as publisher in 1992. He supervised the design and construction of the newspaper's present printing plant and office building and introduced the newspaper's Sound Off column, as well as the practice of printing corrections on page one.
The article on Bronson's retirement included this quote:
"The Press-Register has become over the past 17 years one of the best-read newspapers in the country. This is because of the dedicated and hard-working employees, who over these years have made me proud to serve as their publisher. My wife Dorsey and our family fell in love with Mobile, a magnificent, 300-year-old city, and we have put down roots, making it our permanent home. We look forward to the rich future Mobile has earned."
It's hard to leave.
Update 9/21/09: Poynter Online has posted a copy of the lawsuit. Also see More to say for more about the lawsuit.
I recently wrote about another lawsuit involving Advance Publications, an Oregonian employee who wanted a buyout. I also have written about Howard Bronson before, including his retirement and some speculation about his leaving. I also wrote about him when the newspaper picked up some extra business.