Saturday, October 14, 2006

From Dave Rascon

In the weeks ahead management will intensify their union busting campaign. You have all been here before and know what a NO vote gets you. When a company hires a union buster it costs them money. But its money well spent for the company because in the long run, if it keeps you from getting a contract for three or four years, they would have made the union busters fee back and then some. On Tuesday 9/26/06 the SCABS FOR HIRE notice came out, whether this was orchestrated is unknown yet, but it sure feels like it was, maybe I’m wrong, we'll see.

You never see the union buster, but he is there. He coaches upper management on what to say and how to say it, what to write and how to write it. Then in turn upper management coaches pressroom supervisors in their role in keeping the union out. Such as saying things like, you could get less in negotiations, I could lose my job if the union gets in, and in short he is playing on your emotions. They do this with employees they are close to because they know it is illegal for management to go one on one with an employee in order to get him or her to vote no. I don’t know if this is happening yet, but if you were a party to one of these conversations with a supervisor you know I’m telling you the truth.
Once we file for an election the company will have four weeks in which to run an anti-union campaign. This is where dirtiest union busting goes on. STAY FOCUSED.

About two years ago or so, Kurtich had one of his non-mandatory town hall meetings where he gave his two-bucket speech; I’m guessing he was implying that we would have to double our work efforts. What the hell have we been doing? Year after year we are left to pick up the pieces and put it all back together again. This can only happen because of the dedication shown by employees at the LA TIMES. As trade persons we just can’t throw up our hands and give up. Then he spoke about dropping circulation numbers; I don’t remember what the meeting was meant to convey. Maybe he was defending more cuts. It just doesn’t seem right that executives get bonuses for putting people out of work. Especially when they don’t have a real plan to build circulation or promote our paper.

Here is an example of promoting our paper, or lack of. A subscriber now has to request
The TV listings to be in their weekend paper or they will not receive them, its just not
Part of the service anymore, how can this type of cost cutting build circulation?

I’m asking that you make an educated vote this time. If all you have ever heard is what management was feeding you, then you need to do some research, on your own from home. Here are two places you can go to; SAVE OUR TRADE.COM you find links to GCC/IBT, NLRB, US DEPARTMENT OF LABOR, and ED PADGETT.COM
If you go to Padgett’s site click on TRIBUNE WRITER HAS HAD ENOUGH this person has a lot to say. Isn’t it funny that since Kurtich’s letter entitled ENOUGH IS ENOUGH came out everybody in the company is saying it?
Don’t be fooled, management doesn’t have your best interest on their minds. At this point whether a corporate co. or private owner owns us, the bottom line is the same. To go into the future without protecting what we have now, in my opinion is not a good idea.

As you can see they have taken cost cutting in operations to a new level; first the drivers and mechanics, and now the closing of the Northridge Plant. This makes all the other take-aways look insignificant, not to mention what has happened to other departments.
All of this while the LA TIMES is doing well financially. Some say that 20% profit margin is wrong, that it was bloated by Tribune to quite investors. Whether its wrong or right, how much profit was created from cost cutting, and how will they keep that 20% from falling? Jeff Johnson has not come to our rescue, and no one will. I think we better start looking after ourselves.
M.Kurtich has always said that these cuts are necessary to insure our future. Well the future is here; take a good look at it, and take control of it. Tribune has driven circulation down, and taken our newspaper with it. STAY STRONG, Kurtich and his union busting team are going to use every dirty trick in the book on this one; they know if the employees win the election it’s going to cost them money, and will spread into newsprint and post press. Kurtich is again is saying that you could get less in your first contract, BULL. Think about this, how could unions even exist if not for that first contract, or is he saying were so ignorant, that we might vote yes to a contract that gives us less. Make no mistake; a first time contract is going to cost them a lot of money.

Neither Ronnie nor myself had any intention of starting a union drive again. It is time consuming, physically and emotionally draining. Early this year some employees made contact with me and asked if it were possible to start a union drive. I thought to myself with most of our support laid off, OC being anti union for so long, and not knowing where SF stood, what chance would we have? I said that I would get back to them on this issue, I never did, here we are with 65% of pledge cards turned in and we will get 70%. It’s amazing what we have accomplished with just a hand full of employees from both plants.
I don’t have permission to mention them by name, but thank you all for the work and effort you have given to this campaign. I can only think, that if we had more of us stepping up to the plate, who knows, we might have been in negotiations right now.

I can’t over stress this; all employees in the bargaining unit will have a chance to nominate and vote for who they want to be on the negotiating committee. Whether you voted for union, or against union representation. An election is a secret ballet; no one knows how you voted. This is why all employees have a choice on who will represent us in negotiations.
Ronnie Pineda and I, we are not the leaders. We don’t have anymore say than any other employee. We can’t get any more than any other employee. You handed the ball to us and we’re running with it. We are willing to hand off the ball, just be there when we do and don’t drop it. UNITE AND STAND STRONG

I never said I was a writer. Sometimes it’s hard for me to express what I feel. Have patience, and we will get through this.

David Rascon

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