Congratulations to Patrick Soon-Shiong

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We would like to congratulate Patrick Soon-Shiong as the new owner of the Los Angeles Times.

Our readers expect and deserve the high-quality, independent journalism that has defined The Times for decades. This is important to Los Angeles, California and the nation.

The L.A. Times Guild looks forward to working with a local owner who can help us preserve The Times as a guardian of our community and as the voice of the American West.

The Los Angeles Times Guild Steering Committee
 

The Los Angeles Times Guild has been certified!

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The National Labor Relations Board certified the results of our 248-44 vote tally today, making it official: The Los Angeles Times newsroom is unionized. As editor-in-chief Jim Kirk said yesterday at the all-hands meeting, "It's what we collectively do that makes this place great." This victory is just one example of that.

A key issue remains unresolved: the status of dozens of journalists the company fought to exclude from the unit and challenged on election day. Tronc is able to drop those challenges at any point, but if it won't, we are ready to fight for the voices of our colleagues. 

We have a lot of work ahead of us to get to the bargaining table. We'll send more information to the membership about that very soon.

Congratulations again on this historic victory.

— The L.A. Times Guild organizing committee

 

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Tronc execs need to come clean about their plans for the LA Times

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Dear Colleagues:

As journalists, we demand transparency from the people we cover. As employees of the Los Angeles Times, we demand the same of the executives who run our company.

This week, various media reports, including a lengthy investigation in the Huffington Post, suggested Tronc is building a media entity called Los Angeles Times Network that is not part of the Los Angeles Times — with editorial hires that report to the business side. 

This raises a morass of journalistic and ethical questions. 

We have grave concerns about this matter and have requested information from Tronc's management team — which they have declined to provide. Why a communications company built on the idea of publishing the truth wouldn't be truthful with its employees is beyond comprehension. But rest assured that our newsroom remains mobilized and powerful and we are covered by legal protections. 

We will make our voices heard. And as we investigate and learn more about these developments, we will report back to you.

As a reminder: We are in a period called "status quo," which means that the company can no longer make unilateral changes to our benefits or working conditions — that includes any attempt to outsource the work that we do. Moreover, if the company tries to grill frontline workers about media leaks or anything else, they have a right to have a union representative during the meeting.

We have rights. You have rights. The Guild is here for you.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns or think your rights have been violated, please reach out to an organizer or get in touch at hello@latguild.com.

The Los Angeles Times Guild organizing committee

Letter to the newsroom regarding Ross Levinsohn's "pyramid" plan

We have serious concerns about the plan’s impact on our newsroom and our journalism, and we’d like to remind Tronc of its obligations under the National Labor Relations Act. Simply put, Tronc is required to give us notice and bargain over changes to our working conditions. That obligation extends to this Forbes-style “Los Angeles Times Network” and its effect on our newsroom.

Los Angeles Times newsroom votes for union

Today we made history.

For the first time since the Los Angeles Times printed its inaugural edition in 1881, our journalists have voted to form a union. The vote was 248 to 44 — 85% YES!

We've long been a proud voice for our readers. Finally, we can be a proud voice for ourselves. Anyone familiar with the history of The Times -- and of Los Angeles itself -- knows the significance of what we've just accomplished.

In the weeks ahead, you'll be hearing about how you can run for leadership positions to represent yourself and your colleagues as we prepare for our contract negotiations with Tronc. We need leaders who are willing to fight tooth and nail for every worker and for every department.

We encourage everyone to get involved, even if you were not a part of the union election campaign. The union we've created belongs to everyone. There is no better time to get involved.

—The L.A. Times Guild Organizing Committee

Not fit to lead the Los Angeles Times

We are appalled by the findings in the NPR story.

Ross Levinsohn should resign or be fired immediately. A man who sexually harasses women, engages in “slut-shaming” and refers to gay men as “fags” is not fit to lead our newspaper.

Tronc and its board of directors must be held accountable for their failure to properly vet Levinsohn for one of the most important positions at the company and in American journalism.

We demand an independent investigation to examine how Levinsohn was hired given his documented history of misconduct; whether he acted inappropriately toward Times employees during his tenure as publisher; and how the company and board have responded previously to allegations of sexual misconduct by newspaper leaders.

-- Members of the Los Angeles Times Guild organizing committee
 

Today we make history

Colleagues, 

Today is a historic day for the Los Angeles Times. It's time to make your mark. This is our closing argument.

For 136 years — through wars, through earthquakes, through riots — this newsroom has never had a union.

Our longtime owners, the Chandlers, prided themselves on keeping out unions by treating their employees well. 

We all know what happened next. The Chandlers left. They were replaced by a series of incompetent owners. Sam Zell drove us into bankruptcy. Management only knew how to do one thing: cut staff and benefits.

We had no way to speak up for ourselves. We had no voice to demand modest raises to keep up with inflation. We had no leverage to stop the company from stripping away our paid time off.

We did not have a union. And we have paid the price.

No longer.

Today’s vote will determine whether we join all of our peers in the industry as a union-represented newsroom. The New York Times. The Washington Post. The Wall Street Journal. The Associated Press. Reuters. Dozens of other newspapers around the country.

We know what we want. It's nothing extraordinary. Regular raises to keep up with the cost of inflation. Better parental leave policies. Equal pay and better treatment for women and journalists of color. Just-cause firing protections. Better severance packages. A voice to safeguard our ethical standards and the quality of our journalism.

A fair shake from management.

Tronc has fought our effort by trying to scare us with lies, while trying to pit us against each other.

Tronc has tried to suggest younger workers want to take pay away from older workers. (They don't.)

Tronc has tried to suggest the union is an outside party trying to impose itself on our newsroom. (We approached the NewsGuild, not the other way around.)

Tronc has tried to suggest there isn't enough money for raises for everyone. (Two weeks before this election, Tronc chairman Michael Ferro decided to start paying himself $5 million a year for a "consulting" contract. And compensation for his top executives has ballooned by 80 percent.)

There's a reason Tronc has been trying to scare you out of voting for the union. There's a reason they've been fighting so hard against us.

They want a free hand to give us less and less.

To our supporters, we thank you for your help during all these hard months. It's been a pleasure getting to know all of you and to hear your thoughts on how we can save this proud newsroom. 

To our coworkers who have been on the fence, we hope you've heard our arguments and will decide to join us at the polls.

To some of our colleagues who are opposed to this effort, we want you to know this: No matter what, we will fight for you, every day, tooth and nail. And we hope we can win you over when you see the gains we can make together.

And to Tronc — we'll see you at the bargaining table.

— The Los Angeles Times Guild Organizing Committee

The real story from the L.A. Times pressroom

Below is a statement given to us by longtime Times pressman Cesar Calderon, who responds to the management email featuring his co-worker Lee Carey, an anti-union activist. 

Cesar Calderon

My name is Cesar Calderon, and I’ve been in the L.A. Times pressroom for 34 years. I’m also the president of our local union. I was very amused by what my colleague, Lee Carey, told you in the Tronc video.

Let me set a few things straight. Five times in the past 10 years, Lee has tried to decertify our union with the company’s help. Each time, they failed. All five times, we voted by secret ballot to remain unionized, including last month. What does that tell you?

The union has done a lot for the pressroom. We have a voice. We have a grievance procedure. We have guaranteed vacation pay. We get overtime. We have job protections. We can negotiate all the terms and conditions of our jobs, and we got bonuses for each contract we signed.

I have no doubt that our pay, which is good for our industry, would be much lower without a union. 

Lee used Tronc’s math to try to scare you. The company wanted us to start giving up our vacation pay in exchange for a 401k match. We did the real math and it was easy to see that it would be a bad deal – we would lose time off and money.

And we knew that would probably be the start of what the company would try to take away from us. 

We’ve seen these scare tactics in the past. If you want your voice to be heard, if you want to do better, you need a union.

Good luck on Thursday!