LA Times Journalists Vote Overwhelmingly to Unionize as Questions Surround Publisher

20 January, 2018, 03:49 | Author: Elaine Woods
  • Screen Shot 2018 01 18

The Los Angeles Times aggressively has been covering the sexual harassment allegations against powerful Hollywood figures.

A National Labor Relations Board tally found that newsroom workers voted 248 to 44 for representation by NewsGuild-Communications Workers of America.

For the Times, the largest newspaper on the West Coast, the vote was historic.

Tronc also owns the San Diego Union-Tribune, Chicago Tribune, Baltimore Sun and other daily and weekly newspapers. Reporters shared those exchanges on their LA Times Guild blog under the section "Union Busting 101". "We've always been a proud voice for our readers. Now that we have our union, we can have a voice at the table".

During a second lawsuit in 2006, at a time when Levinsohn was a News Corp executive, Amber Tribble a video producer claimed her boss, who was a Levinsohn subordinate, had sexually harassed her.

In a statement after the vote results were announced, Tronc tried to strike a conciliatory note.

"We respect the outcome of the election and look forward to productive conversations with union leadership as we move forward", said Marisa Kollias, spokeswoman for Tronc Inc., the Times parent. "We remain committed to ensuring that the Los Angeles Times is a leading source for news and information and to producing the award-winning journalism our readers rely on". Like the rest of the industry, the L.A. Times has been in nearly constant turmoil in recent years, amid dwindling readership, falling advertising revenue, editorial shakeups and, most recently, allegations against its publisher.

Justin Dearborn, the chief executive of parent company Tronc, made the announcement in an email to Times employees on Friday.

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As the LA Times continues to cover one of the biggest news stories to grip an industry in its own backyard - Hollywood - the paper will now have to grapple with also being under a lens of scrutiny, the reporter pointed out.

Before the union vote earlier this month, NPR published audio recordings in which D'Vorkin could be heard using harsh terms to criticize an employee who had leaked audio of a previous meeting to the New York Times.

Management, in emails to workers, said a union would not be able to solve the fundamental financial challenges facing The Times and other newspaper companies, which have faced steady declines in print advertising revenue coupled with much slower growth - or declines - in online revenue.

"This week, we became aware of allegations that Ross Levinsohn acted inappropriately", Charles Slipkins said.

Levinsohn declined to answer questions for NPR's story ― but according to the report, he called NPR CEO Jarl Mohn on Wednesday, calling the allegations "lies" and threatening to potentially seek legal counsel.

"Ross Levinsohn should resign or be fired immediately", the statement said.

As of this writing, Levinsohn has not been suspended and is still working at the paper.

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