Star Tribune woes may claim carrier jobs

I wrote a few months ago about the people who work hard delivering the morning paper.

A bunch of them may have just lost their jobs, with the announcement the Pioneer Press carriers will now start delivering the Star Tribune.

If you’re a carrier keeping his/her job,it’ll be a massive change. Your one or two hour route delivery probably just went to three or four. Your Sunday delivery will probably require an extra vehicle and another two hours to put together.

Who knows? If the East Metro combination works out, it wouldn’t be hard, perhaps, to start printing the paper using Pioneer Press facilities. And what’s next after the operations are combined? We’ll see.

  • my question is how long will newspapers be able to keep up this home delivery thing at all. the days of getting a fish-wrap on your doorstep for nothing are numbered.

  • Doug

    I thought they were already printed at the same printing facilities?

  • Steven Andrew Miller

    I get the Wall Street Journal delivered, and I believe that it is the StarTrib carrier who drops it off.

    Does this mean the PP is also taking that over?

  • Bob Collins

    Good question. The NYT is also delivered by the Strib carriers.

    BTW, I LIKE sitting in the morning with my coffee reading fish wrap.

    The one effect of its loss is this: People will learn things they didn’t know they were interested in. That’s what happens when you turn a page. That doesn’t happen quite so well with online.

  • GregS

    Why would it take significantly longer to deliver a combined route? The carrier covers the same ground. Isn’t that what takes the majority of time?

    Sure it is a little more work, but then isn’t it also a financial boost to the Pioneer Press crew?

  • i still am a sucker for having the wrap in my hands too but i gotta admit i don’t read it as often as i would like. i get the press delivered wed-sun.

    my guess is when the papers merge it will be called the twin cities tribune and will be online at delivery will not be the norm and will cost you big time, but most folks will grab it out of a box or convenience store.

  • Bob Collins

    What takes the most time is putting the things together. They arrive in sections. Then you have to update your route lists with all the changes. That will require the Press and Strib merging their customer service operations too, I would think.

    When you’re delivering papers…you have to stop at every house, get out, walk up, throw it, walk back. If you have gaps, you can make up some time. but if you’re now stopping at twice as many homes, that’s significant amount of time.

    It’s also twice the strain on the transmission, twice the gas.

    Moreover you’d now have to keep both papers separate in your car. That’s almost impossible. They’re packed to the gills anyway… so now you’re fumbling to dig out the right paper.

    It’s going to be a nightmare for the carrier. I would think the number of complaints will be quite high. And keep in mind, a complaint with the Press costs the carrier $1 each — $3 on Sundays — many, many times the profit margin for each paper.

    But, of course, the carriers are independent contractors. So you don’t even need their approval. You can just say “do it or you’ll be fired.”

  • momkat

    We get both papers delivered by 3 carriers and I love going through both of them, a ton of fishwrap on Sundays.

    Paper carriers have never had an easy life. My brother delivered in the 50’s when the carrier had to collect the money. He had people who would hide from the paper boy on collection day.

  • brian

    Why does anyone do it?

  • Bob Collins

    The money.

  • sodakker

    I can get several national papers, WSJ, NYT, USA Today, Investors Business Daily delivered to my doorstep, punctually everyday. Notebly, several of these, if not all (I do not get them all) are delivered by the Strib carrier here in Hennepin County. The one paper that I cannot get delivered is the Pioneer Press. I am told by PP folks that “agreements” with the Strib prohibit that.

    And therein lies the real truth about survival in the digital age.

  • DI

    What many seem to have missed in the announcement is that this change is only for western Wisconsin and parts of Washington County. (I’m guessing these are rural routes where the paper is delivered to a tube adjacent to your mailbox by the side of the road.)

  • Bob Collins

    There’s not many of those routes anymore. It’s mostly cities like Woodbury, Roseville, Cottage Grove, Stillwater, Oakdale, etcd.

    the depots here are in Stillwater, Oakdale, and Inver Grove Heights. I think Hudson was handled out of the Oakdale depot.