Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Farewell to a couple of friends

The time that all of us dreamed of it is finally here for two of the best pressmen I've known. John Garay with 35 years of service and Mark Crawford with 31.
These are times that we realize how fast time goes by, times when we realize that over the years we spent and shared moments that made us laughed, got together for family picnics, shared a beer or two. We may not agreed about everything at work, but it was fun and those memories will be with us forever...
Congratulations guys, best of luck. You earned it.

Take Back the Times: Will James O'Shea Begin By Ruining L.A. Times' Page One?

Take Back the Times: Will James O'Shea Begin By Ruining L.A. Times' Page One?

Saturday, May 26, 2007

last of the best

The last of Oly’s Crew Supervisors are leaving us soon and I for one will miss them both. John Garay always had the time to help me with any problems I had. The way he performed the duties of crew supervisor showed a quality that I look for in a supervisor. I’ll miss his smile and sense of humor. Now some may say that Mark Crawford was too by the book, that he’ too strict, well that may be but he’s always tried to bring out the best in an employee. I worked with Crawford on two rolls per break teams, and helped him on the advanced tension specialist training class. I can only imagine how difficult all our supervisors jobs are since the morons from Chicago took over. Both Garay, and Crawford did their jobs with out prejudice and with out favoritism, that makes them the best in my book. I wish them both the best that life has to offer.
Retirement party for John Garay:
Wed. May 30 at 9:00pm at Weiland Brewery 400 E. 1st. Los Angeles, Ca.90012

Friday, May 25, 2007

Project: Newsletter

For the longest time has bothered me the spread of rumors and how stories change from mouth to mouth, then it occurred to me volunteer to redesign and existing site that is meant to help clear some of the rumors and talk about facts and find ways to make our job easier and enjoyable. That's how got it's new look. A lot of time and effort went into it for a good cause. This site reflects some of my ideas of presenting the information that might be limited to one mind. That is why am asking for suggestions, what type of information we need to read about, information that can teach us, based on facts, not gossip. Also have in mind to create a weekly or monthly newsletter with the latest information about what goes on, on the floor, how to improve work habits, etc. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Most important send me your email addresses, to create my own database. The newsletter will have an option to unsubscribe if you prefer.

Send me your e-mail addresses to

Remember it's not about taking sides anymore, it's about working together and helping each other.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Finally getting it fixed!

In 1978 I fell in the mountains and badly damaged my left leg tearing the cartlidge so bad that the whole thing was removed. Gradually over the last 29 years it has gotten worse now causing me continuous pain to my right hip, left ankle, and right knee.

I posponed my surgery twice last year, for obvious reasons and only now do I feel comfortable enough to leave the shop to finally repair my freakish looking appendage.

No more kickstand, gimpy, or u-turn. All nicknames I will cherish, but it's time to straighten up! I think I will be at least 2 inches taller by tonight when the knee gets replaced.

My knee surgeon Dr. Pradeep John Kumar M.D. is a great Doctor and I am confident everything will go fine. He will be perfoming my surgery at Kaiser Hospital in Bellflower, CA. today at
11:00 am. I am expected to remain in the hospital for 2 to 5 days depending on how the knee responds to the procedure. I can't believe I'm actually anxious to get there and get this done!
By the x-ray you can see why, my bone looks like it's ready to slide right off.

Well, it's time to go, I have an hour and a half to get to the hospital, so I will be in touch as soon as possible.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Fools Rush In

Fools Rush In
I remember around October of 2006 when some of us in the pressroom found out that we had a little over 50% of the pledge cards turned in, that the clamor had already begun, when are we going to file for an election? After all that’s the way we’ve done it in the past. By this time I had attended numerous meetings with Marty Keegan and I knew that the union would not file our petition for representation unless we had 70% of the bargaining unit on board. Had we filed with just 50+1% we would have lost big again.
Some may say that a win by 9 votes doesn’t mean much, but none the less, it is a victory. The night before the election Organizer Marty Keegan and I spoke about the outcome of the vote and we had already come to the conclusion that we could win the election even if we lost 27 to 30 yes votes at the polls. This was possible because Marty Keegan, George Perez, plus volunteers from other locals across the country did the leg work for us. I’m not forgetting all our committee members at our two shops either.
Why did we lose so many potential yes votes? In part it was because two weeks before the election, management broke the rules and the law. They spoke with employees one on one on the floor in a effort to sway their votes. Those of you that spoke with management during this period know that I’m telling the truth. Also, some fellow employees filled out an authorization card but never intended to vote for the union. For this reason 70% is required and most unions will not file for an election without that high of a percentage.
When the company filed objections with NLRB we knew this was going to cause a delay and understood that this was a calculated response and we expected it, as well as the exceptions filed with the Washington N.L.R.B. We would have done the same and filed numerous unfair labor practice charges against the company had we lost by 9 votes. These types of actions cause delays in the process of reaching contract negotiations and that is the only reason the company filed objections with the Regional N.L.R.B. and now Washington to begin with.
We have a long road ahead of us and it’s important that we have patience. It is equally important that we explore every possible way to reach a contract that’s good for the employees and good for our newspaper. This process is going to take time. There is still a small group of employees who wish to campaign against the union, and I say its time wasted. Since Jan. 6th. 2007 we have moved on and can’t keep on addressing things that do not matter at this point. Rumors are just unverified reports and mis-information that cloud the facts.
It’s has also been brought to my attention that our pressroom manager has made some demands of press operators, press crews, and reel room coordinators, and not to mention our service shops, whereas in making these demands he continually uses poor judgment in the way he speaks with employees. Please do not be insubordinate and just do what he asks, we will deal with these issues at an appropriate time. His career has been plagued with big mistakes not only at the Times but at other newspapers.
I hope all of the contract surveys have been returned by now. If you never received one, contact a negotiations team member and we will get one to you as soon as possible.
Please have patience not only with the process, but with each other. I don’t think anyone would want our contract to have any mistakes in it. Lets move on, but lets not rush in.
In solidarity,
Dave Rascon

Friday, May 18, 2007

No Pressroom Buy-Outs Update

I telephoned GCC/IBT International President George Tedeschi this morning (Fri) to seek his assistance in informing Tribune of pressroom members who expressed an interest in participating in the current buy-outs, and to also inquire as to the possibility of allowing our brothers and/or sisters to apply for consideration in the current buy-outs.

President Tedeschi agreed to make inquiries and inform me of his findings.

I received his consent to post the information he received as a result of his inquiries.

GCC/IBT President George Tedeschi on behalf of The Los Angeles Times Pressroom Employees contacted his sources within Tribune as to the eligibility of our members to participate in the Buy-Outs that are currently being offered to Los Angeles Times Employees. The response that was given to him was that "no buy-outs are being offered to pressroom employees because Tribune has no desire to reduce staffing in the Los Angeles Times Pressrooms at this time"
He went on to say that the decision to organize our shops had absolutely nothing to do with Tribune's decision to exclude pressroom employees from the buy-outs at this time and reiterated that there was no desire on management's behalf to reduce staffing in our shops.
He also mentioned that the work environment is always subject to change and that if management were to consider buy-outs in the future that the Union would be ready to negotiate buy-outs on behalf of its members.

That is the sum of our conversation on the buy-out issue, so I want everyone to understand perfectly clear that it is NOT because of the union, but rather a decision by the company to maintain current staffing levels that is preventing interested pressroom employees from applying for a buy-out.

I would like to thank President Tedeschi for obtaining the necessary information to put this matter to rest. I'm sorry that the interested individuals are not being given an opportunity to participate, and I am equally glad to say that the Union is not to blame for this decision.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Anti-Union Meetings In other L.A.Times Departments

I was informed this afternoon that SVP Russ Newton was in Orange County today and during his meeting he took the opportunity to advise our fellow employees in the Mailroom that they shouldn't seek to organize their shops. I was surprised to hear that some of his comments may have implied "Promises" that are in fact illegal to make.

Neither the Company, (Russ) or the Union can make Guarantees or Promises when addressing employees on Union Organizing. Russ should not be telling employees that the company can, or will do something for them if the employees refuse organizing efforts in their departments. That's Illegal!

This is an example of their (managements) FEAR that we intend to grow our numbers by helping protect our peers in other departments from Tribune, and now our new owner. We need them, and they need us. We are all in this together no matter which department we work in, many of us came from other departments to begin with. We should not allow Russ or any other manager to "LIE" to our friends and co-workers in the Mailroom or any other department just to prevent them from having a voice and representation for themselves.

Unity should not stop at the Pressroom walls, all of us should be reaching out to mailers, platemakers, newsprint handlers, and mechanics. There are strength in numbers and we can only get stronger and louder together. When you see a Mailer, let him or her know the TRUTH about The Union and encourage them to find out the truth behind the Lies Russ is now trying to spread in The Mailroom.

Let's not miss the opportunity to tell them the truth. I'm sure that the fact that we are being overlooked in this Buy-Out is a good place to start. Let them know that we will be there to answer any and all questions pertaining to Russ's meeting with them today. The truth will always prevail and our friends and family in the Mailroom will know who they can believe and trust.

Unity and Solidarity must spread across departmental boundries in order to protect as many of our jobs as possible! Go talk to them, but be careful, you cannot disturb anyone while they are working or in their respective departments. Before work, after work, at lunch, in the cafeteria, breakrooms and locker rooms are places and times that you can share your information.

Let them all know that we chose to stand up for ourselves, and we are willing to stand by their sides as well!

Security in Solidarity!

Proposed Tribune Buyout a Risky Investment for Workers

Teamsters Demand Board Protect Workers In ESOP Deal At Company's Annual Meeting

WASHINGTON, May 9, 2007 /PRNewswire-USNewswire via COMTEX/ --

Teamsters attending the Tribune Company's annual meeting of shareholders today questioned the company's board of directors about major flaws in the employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) takeover bid by Chicago real estate mogul Sam Zell.
The ESOP plan proposed by Zell requires that employees assume a disproportionate amount of the financial risk without any say in the governance of the operating company. Under the proposed deal, the ESOP will own at least 60 percent of the company's stock.

"This plan is a perversion of what ESOP's were designed to do -- namely to empower workers as owners," said Jim Hoffa, General President of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, which represents about 2,000 Tribune workers. "This structure makes the employees shareholders in name only. They should be guaranteed the right to elect the trustee of the ESOP trust and the board of the operating company."

Zell's financial risk will be minimized by tax breaks and "phantom" stock ownership. Teamsters raised concerns that this structure fails to closely align Zell's interests with those of the company and its worker-owners. Teamsters also questioned whether the use of this synthetic equity could violate IRS anti-abuse rules.

"This transaction, with its heavy debt load, creates an enormous financial burden on the Tribune's workforce -- union and non-union alike," Hoffa said. "No one has more at stake than the Tribune workers, whose jobs and retirement security depend on the survival of this company. We will fight to ensure that they have a meaningful voice at the table as majority shareholders in the company."
Founded in 1903, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents 1.4 million hardworking men and women in the United States and Canada.

SOURCE International Brotherhood of Teamsters

Teamsters to question Tribune board about ESOP

By James P. MillerTribune staff reporter
Published May 8, 2007, 2:49 PM CDT

The International Brotherhood of Teamsters union said Tuesday that representitatives intend to attend Tribune Co.'s annual meeting Wednesday, to question board members about what the union characterized as "major flaws" in the plan under which Tribune is to be taken private for $8.2 billion.The complex $8.2 billion accord announced recently will transfer ownership of the Chicago media company to real estate financier Sam Zell and an employee stock ownership plan.The Teamsters "want to ensure that Tribune workers, shouldering both the financial and operational burden of Zell's proposed plan, will have a voice in governming the ESOP and the company," said Teamsters general president James P. Hoffa."The board must ensure that Sam Zell assume adequate risk to align his interests with those of the company and the worker-owners," Hoffa said.The Teamsters represent drivers, press operators and some editorial staffers at a number of Tribune Co. papers, including Newsday, the Allentown (Pa) Morning Call, the Baltimore Sun, the Los Angeles Times, and the Chicago Tribune.

Copyright © 2007, Chicago Tribune

Monday, May 07, 2007

What's going on?

Everyone is wondering, "what's going on"

Well, we are still waiting for Washington to hand down their decision and once they do we will have our certification and then we will seek our charter from The International. There is no reason to interpret this decision and the time it is taking as something to be concerned about. The N.L.R.B. will do what they have to do in the time they are required and all we can do is be patient.

We have already seen that our victory has not brought upon the things we were being told. We all received a 2% wage increase just like everyone else. The cut's are here and as we can see, it currently does not affect our shops. As I said before, Buy-outs could be offered to our members if the company was willing to "negotiate" the buy-outs.

Marty and I spoke today and meetings are being planned very soon to answer any and all questions that are circulating right now. We encourage everyone to attend so that information is received firsthand.

We know who our Negotiator will be for contract negotiations and his name is Sonny Shannon. I had the pleasure of meeting him in Florida at The N.A.N.C. and I was impressed by his ability to command the attention of the room. I have been assured he is one of the best at negotiating contracts and our negotiating commitee members will compliment Sonny's stlye and make a great negotiating team.

I have heard of alot of overbearing tactics from L.A. management. They are enforcing the S.O.P.'s and attempting to frusrtate people into becoming insubordinate. Understand this, that's all the can do, and it's the best they can do. All I have to say is do what you are suppose to and do not give them anything to hang you with. We all know why they are doing it and it only goes to prove these types of actions only unite us even more against them and the way they treat us as employees.

What happened to the things we were told about the recent, but long ago survey which we are still waiting for management to respond to. It was far from favorable towards management and maybe thats why they refrain from reponding to all the negative comments that were voiced in that survey. We were told all these management staffed commitees were going to address our concerns expressed in the survey, and instead pressroom management in L.A. are being allowed to continue to treat our fellow presspeople in ways that were mentioned in that mystery survey.

We will persevere in overcoming these attempts to break us and we will do it by standing United. Be patient and as I said be ready to attend one of the upcoming meetings.


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