When it comes to unionizing, Tronc management has urged you to ask hard questions.
We asked some tough ones last week about the jaw-dropping compensation of Tronc executives. (Don’t miss it if you’re interested in private jets, golden parachutes and salaries that make you facepalm.)
Today, let’s look at how the other half of Tronc lives — specifically the hard-working and dedicated staff of Times Community News.
The Los Angeles Times Guild bargaining unit will include these reporters and editors at the Burbank Leader, Glendale News-Press, La Cañada Valley Sun and Daily Pilot in Orange County.
TCN journalists cover their communities like blankets. They write about crime, town council, schools, zoning, local businesses and sports. Reporters are incredibly productive, often filing as many as three stories a day. Many have years of experience. Some have a decade.
TCN journalists also contribute significantly to The Times. The flagship paper has published hundreds of their stories in the California section and elsewhere, and they are an important source for community contacts and tips.
In fact, it was a TCN reporter who first broke the news of the case that would become the blockbuster series “Dirty John” and suggested it had the makings of a compelling narrative.
HARD WORK AT LOW PAY
So how much does Tronc pay these vital members of the newsroom?
Less than $40,000 annually — even for those with years on the job.
Let’s put those wages in context:
- The average TCN salary is less than what Tronc pays for five hours of flying time on Michael Ferro’s private jet.
- It is less than two days of Justin Dearborn’s $8.1-million compensation last year.
Living on less than $40,000 a year in Los Angeles is very difficult. Some TCN staffers struggle to pay for groceries, health insurance deductibles and gas. Plus, those who work in the downtown L.A. newsroom have to shell out more than $1,000 annually to park in the company garage.
And in one of the nation’s most expensive real estate markets, TCN staffers can barely afford rent. Meanwhile, Dearborn enjoys an annual housing allowance of $175,000.
Tronc has the money to pay our TCN colleagues a salary that reflects the essential role they play at The Times. And Tronc has the money to give all newsroom staffers the kind of guaranteed annual raises our peers receive at NewsGuild-represented newspapers throughout the country.
-- The Los Angeles Times Guild Organizing Committee