20 January 2018

A Good Surprise

The staff of the Los Angeles Times has overwhelmingly voted to unionized:
The Los Angeles Times’ editorial staff voted to unionize in a rebuke to owner Tronc Inc. that marks a new era in the newspaper’s 136-year history.

The employees’ union, NewsGuild, won the vote by a margin of more than 5-to-1, organizer Nastaran Mohit said Friday. The guild is an affiliate of the Communications Workers of America union, which has been organizing at the Times since late 2016.
Perhaps the fact that overpaid senior executives in the organization are being investigated for misconduct, while the news room has been gutted, has something to do with the lopsided vote:
The company also said Friday that Ross Levinsohn, the L.A. Times’ publisher, is taking a voluntary unpaid leave while the company looks into allegations of misconduct.

The vote heralds the beginning of a bargaining process that’s sure to prove contentious. Like the rest of the industry, the L.A. Times has been in almost constant turmoil in recent years, amid dwindling readership, falling advertising revenue, editorial shakeups and, most recently, the allegations against its publisher. Meanwhile, the company that eventually became Tronc has lurched from bankruptcy to a spinoff to a change in ownership and, finally, a new name in under a decade.


“There was a time, way back when, when a guild couldn’t make headway in the newsroom, because the people were treated very well,” Paul Pringle, an investigative reporter who helped spearhead the drive, said in an interview before the vote. “Those days are over.”
Increasingly, newspapers are run by people who do not believe in newspapers, and because of this, their business model is to extract as much money as possible by making its employees lives a living hell.

Unionization is a logical response to this.


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