Times journalists cite transparency in the newsroom, equitable pay, and restoring competitive benefits as they push for union representation at the historically anti-union newspaper.
Los Angeles, Dec. 4 – The editorial staff of the Los Angeles Times filed for a union election Monday with the National Labor Relations Board. An overwhelming majority of newsroom employees signed cards authorizing union representation by The NewsGuild, the international union representing nearly 25,000 media professionals at publications such as The New York Times, Reuters, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post and the AP, among others.
The editorial staff requested voluntary recognition from management and simultaneously filed for an election with the NLRB. They have yet to receive a response from Tronc, their parent company.
”We’re excited to take this step toward securing representation by the Guild and ensuring a seat at the table for our newsroom. We're asking management to voluntarily recognize our union so we can begin the collective bargaining process, but we've filed for an NLRB election to prevent any further delay. We're prepared to pull our election petition once management makes the decision to recognize our union,” said Anthony Pesce, L.A. Times data journalist and member of the union’s Organizing Committee.
The journalists of the L.A. Times have endured years of corporate turbulence and management problems, creating growing concerns about the future of the newsroom. Staff members have long complained of eroding benefits, difficulty retaining talent, and salaries that don’t keep pace with inflation or with industry competitors.
"Today is the start of the L.A. Times newsroom taking its fate in its own hands,” said The NewsGuild President, Bernie Lunzer. “Journalists make the Times the valuable institution it is, and a strong, democratic workplace will ensure their voice is heard in the decisions that determine the publication’s future. Let the staff of the L.A. Times be an example: It's time for all journalists to have a seat at the table."
The union anticipates a successful election will take place in early January.
Monday is the 136th anniversary of the first edition of the Los Angeles Times, which was published Dec. 4, 1881. The newsroom has never had union representation.
More information can be found at the LAT Guild website, latguild.com.
Mission statement from the Organizing Committee:
To safeguard the future of the Los Angeles Times and its journalists.
“The Los Angeles Times is an essential institution. As employees, we take enormous pride in the journalism we produce, fighting each day to serve our readers and make our product better. We give our community a voice, and we deserve a voice as well. That’s why we are forming a union with the NewsGuild, the organization that represents our peers at The New York Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, Reuters, the Associated Press and many others.
A union is the best way for us to protect ourselves and ensure that we have a say in the critical decisions that shape our journalism.
We deserve to be compensated fairly for our hard work, our skills and our depth of experience. We are determined to halt the rampant turnover and knowledge flight that has destabilized our newsroom. With a union, we can begin to address stagnant wages, pay disparities and declining benefits. And we can create a workplace that reflects the diversity of Southern California.
Our No. 1 goal is the long-term success of The Times and its journalism. We believe the company shares that goal. The best way for the Los Angeles Times to flourish is through collective bargaining for its journalists.
We are asking Tronc, The Times’ parent company, to recognize the NewsGuild as our representative, and we are eager to work with management to achieve our shared goals.”
About the NewsGuild-Communications Workers of America:
Representing 25,000 media workers across the country, the NewsGuild-CWA seeks to improve our lives through the building of community, at home and in the workplace. Through commitment to open democratic function we improve not only our own organization and the lives of our members, but fight most effectively for our common interests: sustainable jobs, equality in the workplace, dignified working conditions and the defense of ethical practices in our work. More at newsguild.org.