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.
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