Friday, April 27, 2007

Pressroom Buy-Outs

I have asked David Rascon in Los Angeles and Charlie Laird in O.C. for the names of anyone who is interested in consideration for this current buy-out. I have spoke to Marty Keegan about this matter and according to David Hiller's letter, hourly employees in the pressroom would have to "Collectively Bargain" any buy-outs. Marty is going to notify The International and our Attorneys to see if the company could exclude our members to avoid "bargaining" pressroom buy-outs.

The purpose of Union Representation was not to block anyone from leaving, it is intended to protect those who choose to stay. Should the company be willing to bargain buy-out's at this time, (which is possible) it will certainly be an advantage to the interested pressroom employee to have representation in an effort to better the buy-out offer.

I believe that the majority of pressroom employees are breathing a sigh of relief knowing that Tribune is unable to look in our direction this time.

If you are interested in this buy-out, you can notify me here on saveourtrade.com and I will compile a list of interested pressroom employees to provide to our representatives.

Los Angeles Times Pressmens 20 Year Club: Dignity

Los Angeles Times Pressmens 20 Year Club: Dignity

Los Angeles Times Pressmens 20 Year Club: David Hiller on Employee Voluntary Separation Program

Los Angeles Times Pressmens 20 Year Club: David Hiller on Employee Voluntary Separation Program

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Where does all the money go?

The Los Angeles to Chicago "CASH PIPELINE" is flowing once again! I understand the pressure that our newspaper, as well as all newspapers in general are under, but what I don't understand is how Executive Management in Chicago continues to siphon off millions of dollars at the expense of Los Angeles Times employees and line their own pockets with it.

It was reported that 38 executives are going to divide approximately 269 Million dollars upon the closing of the sale of Tribune to Sam Zell. Why are there so many executives to begin with? Why do they get such over inflated bonuses for orchestrating this sale in the course of their duties, to which they are already over compensated, and also receive profit from the sale? This is nothing more than a kickback and should not be so easily ignored when they are continually asking for more money from L.A.
I visited "CEO PAYWATCH" and was again astonished at just how much our CEO Dennis Fitzsimons pockets for doing a less than commendable job at running this corporation. I'm sure any one of us could do just as lousy of a job for alot less money than what he's raking in. This amount does not reflect all the money he's received. New reporting Laws now require detailed reporting of Executive compensation for all monies, stocks, and perks that total their earnings, so his actual amount is much higher and I can't wait to see what that total is. Click on the link and see for yourself and then ask youself, how many of us have to lose our careers to feed Chicago's hunger for cash? I'm sure that if you get rid of half of the executives that sit in offices doing nothing, you'd save alot more money and keep more of the people who actually do something to make money for this company. There's more dead weight at the top!

We all knew they were coming to empty the piggy bank again and I'm more than glad that we stood up to protect our jobs in the Pressroom. Everyone at The Times lives on the edge wondering just how long they will survive here because Chicago prefers to "CUT" and chase away the reasons the public buys our product. The Editorial/Newsroom Employees are the main target in this latest assault on L.A. and I still can't understand how Chicago doesn't realize that if you continue to chase away the people who write the paper, there eventually becomes nothing for customers to read, and in turn no reason to buy it. I hope Sam Zell takes the time to take a look at the company through the eye's of our readers because Chicago has ignored them completely, and see that less is certainly not more. Our Newspaper should focus on news, that's why people buy it, not the ads! We're a Newspaper, not an "Adpaper" Focus on the News and the reporters who cover it and advertising will be positively affected as a result.


Are the Cubs looking to buy another player?

Monday, April 23, 2007

Buy-Outs/Layoffs in the GCC/IBT Represented Los Angeles Times Pressrooms?


I spoke with GCC/IBT Organizer, Marty Keegan this morning regarding the announced "CUTS" at our Newspaper, The Los Angeles Times, and he informed me that as soon as he was aware of the proposed cut's here, he contacted GCC/IBT Lawyers in Washington D.C.

According to Marty and the GCC/IBT Attorneys, "we are safe from any cut's and or lay-offs" for the simple fact that we won our Election for Union Representation, and any buyouts or layoffs are subject to collective bargaining. If management wishes to offer buy-out's in our shops, they must negotiate the terms of the buy-out first. Any arbitrary actions taken by the Company without Union Representation for any involved Pressroom Employees will be grounds for unfair labor practice charges to be filed against the company. A "Buy-Out" is nothing more than a "Layoff" which results in staffing reductions. Staffing levels are a main bargaining issue and are subject to collective bargaining.

If offered to Pressroom employees at this time, any (Union Negotiated) buy-outs will NOT be viewed by "The Bargaining Unit"as an agreement with management in regards to resulting staffing levels after buy-out process is completed, and will consider staffing levels open for contract negotiations in collective bargaining .

We have yet to obtain any verifiable information as to whether any reductions are aimed at our pressrooms to begin with. We have no idea how many positions are targeted in production and the pressroom for that matter. I seem to remember our new Publisher, in his welcome to L.A. from Chicago meetings, state that he was aware of all the cuts we have faced in the pressrooms in the past. He mentioned the Northridge Facility closure specifically, and went on to give some reassurance that the production departments could not and would not be facing any more cut's this time around. I remember our new S.V.P. making the same statement in O.C. during the organizing campaign as well, I know many of you remember hearing the same.


I only wish that the Newsroom would have mobilized their workforce to organize as we have. It's never too late! I am deeply concerned for everyone else at our paper, because as "At Will" employees, there are absolutely no protections in place for our writers, editors, sales, composing, classified, production, maintainance, newsprint, platemaking, packaging and literally everyone else employed here at the Times. In my opinion, Middle Management is more vulnerable at this point in time than anyone, aside from editorial. There is a strong possibility that they're in Tribunes sites more than they have ever been in the past. We'll see how loyal Tribune Management is toward their supervisors for their anti-union efforts against us. You don't need to ask Jeff Johnson or Dean Baquet, or their latest departee, Mark Kurtich about "loyalty".


We anxiously await establishing contact with anyone who is interested in getting information to organize your fellow workers, in your respective departments and are willing to join us in the pressroom in our effort to restore the security of our jobs and benefits here at The Los Angeles Times. Any interested parties, regardless of what department you are employed, feel free to contact us, Pressman/Union Activist, Ronnie Pineda via e-mail at admin@saveourtrade.com or Pressman/Union Activist, Dave Rascon in Los Angeles at drascon@saveourtrade.com You may also contact GCC/IBT Organizer, Marty Keegan directly at marty7720@aol.com . Don't hesitate, No one stood up for us, so we stood up for ourselves! The Truth is we ALL need to stand together no matter which department we work in! Our voices will become even louder when we unite them throughout the company.


The Pressroom is Safer than it has ever been!


Let's help our brothers and sisters throughout The Company get the security we voted for! Unity, Education & Representation,

THERE IS NO OTHER WAY!


In Solidarity,

Ronnie

Thursday, April 19, 2007

51st Annual North American Newspaper Conference

Los Angeles Pressroom Operator, Keith Denson and I were honored to represent the Men and Women of our Pressroom's at The Los Angeles Times during The 51st Annual North American Newspaper Conference in St.Pete Beach Florida, April 16,17 &18th, 2007.

We had the opportunity to meet many of the men and women who provide services and benefits for GCC/IBT members and look forward to having them come to L.A. and O.C. to share the wealth of information they possess.


Keith and I were humbled when introduced to the Conference and received a "standing ovation" for the organizing victory in our shops. That standing ovation was for each and every one of you who stood diligent in your beliefs and especially for those of you who literally stood up and participated in achieving our victory. You should all be proud of yourselves, because everyone at the Conference made it clear that they are proud of "ALL "of us who work in our Pressrooms.




I expressed our appreciation to GCC/IBT President George Tedeschi for not giving up on us and supporting our latest organizing campaign. I also had to give greater thanks to GCC/IBT Lead Organizer Marty Keegan for convincing President Tedeschi to do just that.



Keith and I spoke of all the Union Busting we have had to endure over the years in trying to organize our shops and the many changes we have endured as a result of trusting a management that shows no compassion for it's workers when it comes to cutting costs.


Keith and I were stunned by the show of solidarity and generosity displayed by all the Teamsters in attendance. Financial Aid was raised for many fellow Teamsters who have faced adversed conditions including terminations at the hands of their respective employers for organizing or supporting union representation.


We think we have been treated unfairly during past election campaigns but I was witness to stories of severe treatment toward individuals for attempting to organize their shops, but more importantly what The Teamsters are doing to help them. Compassion for fellow workers in our Trade is a "Value" that I saw in every person I had the pleasure of meeting at the Conference.



I will begin posting information from some of the speakers at this conference in seperate posts to create topic specific posts detailing each of their roles with The Teamsters and their areas of expertise, as well as the service they perform for both The Teamsters and their members.


I created two new links here on the blog and invite you to click on them to get a clear picture of what goes on in our industry (both good and bad) and how we can stand together to improve working conditions for everyone. These are only two examples of why the working class need representation and a "Collective Bargaining Agreement"



The eight writers who were fired by Wendy McCaw in Santa Barbara for standing up to her for compromising the integrity of their paper( The Santa Barbara News Press) by becoming too involved in content and eventually union activism have created their own local news website(santabarbaranewsroom.com) and are supported by their community by and large as well as by The GCC/IBT, so I encourage you to visit.


In Toledo, OH more than 200 full -time and part-time employees of "The Blade" entered their 8th month of being "ILLEGALLY" locked-out of their jobs in April. Visit their site (stoptheblade.com)and help if you can.


I attended an Organizing Seminar on April 14th at The UCLA Labor Center in Los Angeles and will also post information from that experience.


If you haven't sent in your survey yet, do so soon.

Unity and Solidarity will accomplish anything you can't accomplish alone!


In solidarity,

Ronnie


Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Hope you all like the new site. Thank's Albaro! Looks great and also thank's to Ed Padgett for all the photos. More photos from O.C. will soon be up for all to see.

No news on the meeting between Zell and Geffen. Hopefully it was fruitful in bringing ownership back to L.A.

I've added new links to the blog, so check them out and participate in the Tribune Action Network organized by freepress.net. A link to their site is now in the links column as well.

One last bit of news, I have scheduled my knee surgery for May 22nd and look forward to finally getting this knee fixed. I postponed my surgery twice last year for obvious reasons and it was worth it. I am in constant pain and can't tolerate it any longer, plus I am tired of looking like a one-sided cowboy! I will also be taller! I will continue to stay on top of events as they occur and do my best to help from home while recovering. I have the satisfaction of knowing that we are all safe from Tribune and that I will have a job to return to. That will speed my recovery immensly.

I'm on vacation currently and will be attending the North American Newspaper Conference in St. Petersburg, Florida on the 16th and 17th. L.A. Operator, Keith Denson and myself were invited by GCC President George Tedeschi and Marty Keegan to represent our shops here at The Times. All the representatives of newspapers from across the country will be in attendance and this will finally give us the opportunity to interact with our peers from our Trade.

We will bring back a bounty of information and support that will help us build our local and insure that we succeed in estasblishing a strong unified membership.

That's it for now!
Solidarirty!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Alot to cover, so let's get started. First, the thing that is on everyones mind is, how is the sale to Sam Zell going to affect our contract negotiations. We won the right to "collectively bargain" with our employer, whoever that may be, and we will. The pending sale is why the company challenged our election results to begin with, to explore offers for the company in part or as a whole, and obviously are in no hurry to meet us at the table. By filing "objections" with The N.L.R.B. in Washington the company is employing yet another stall tactic which will not prevent our election certification. I'm confident that Washington will agree with The Regional N.L.R.B. and rule in our favor.

This sale is not a done deal either. It faces approval from both The SEC and the FCC, due to cross ownership issues that are still under review. Also, until the sale is closed, counter offers for the company can still be made, so let's hope that some of the Los Angeles Billionares are willing to bump their offer and bring ownership back to L.A. I'm sure Burkle and Broad would be willing to sell The Chicago Tribune back to someone in Chicago. Would a Chicago owner be willing to sell The Times to a local owner? I hope that possibility comes to pass if a Chicago buyer prevails.
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