January 20, 2018

LA Times staff joins a union

Huffington Post -  After 136 years without a union, staffers at the Los Angeles Times decided it was finally time to join one.

Their cause was inadvertently helped along by management, which ran a union-busting campaign that, in its oafishness and ineptitude, served as a fitting monument to the newspaper’s publisher.

On Thursday, NPR detailed allegations of past misconduct by LA Times CEO and publisher Ross Levinsohn. The paper announced Friday afternoon that Levinsohn would be taking an unpaid leave of absence while an outside law firm investigates.

Most journalists had already cast their votes by the time the Levinsohn story was published. But it served as yet another reminder of why so many decided it was time to bargain collectively.

“I wasn’t planning on going to the vote count, but after [the Levinsohn news] yesterday, I really do feel like I want to go,” said Jaweed Kaleem, a former HuffPost reporter who now covers race and justice for the Times.

On Friday, federal officials released the lopsided ballot count of a historic election at the storied paper: The newsroom cast 248 votes in favor of joining the NewsGuild-Communications Workers of America, and just 44 votes in opposition.

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