On June 14th the Journal will begin home delivery of the Tuesday newspaper (currently available only at stores). But the change also brings some really bad news for some veteran single copy drivers, some who have been with the paper for more than four decades.
The change will see the end of the careers of many really wonderful people who have loyally delivered the paper. These delivery drivers are the unsung warriors of the newspaper business and they work long and awful hours and back in the day sometimes worked seven days a week.
Termination letters have gone out to about 18 of the single copy drivers and when the Tuesday change occurs the home delivery drivers will also be responsible for bringing the single copy issues to the stores.
You probably will hear a lot about the Tuesday delivery, but you will likely not read much in the paper about the effect it will have on this unique group of workers.
From the best information I have the current situation is that the single copy drivers make 17 cents profit for a daily paper and 49 cents for a Sunday paper. Now the home delivery drivers will get 8 cents a copy for every paper they deliver, even if not sold.
So here's what will happen:
Say a driver gets enough stores to deliver 120 Sundays and the stores sell 100 of them.
Driver gets paid $9.60 to deliver and may have to pick up any unsold and take them back to the FJ.
In the past the same situation the driver would have paid the store its cut, paid the FJ $133, and then made $49 profit for all the work.
Now after the stores gets their cut the FJ collects $1.82 per paper sold or $182 and then pays the driver their $9.60.
Hardly worth the gas at current rates. And there are no buyouts for these long time newspaper delivery folks.
Some of the home delivery folks have already seen drops of up to 1/3 of the subscribers they had when the Journal ended daily publication.
More as I get information.