Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Ego VS The Law

Most of you should have received our recent mailing highlighting our current status. I personally reviewed all current mailing information provided by the company and revised our database, so if anyone fails to receive it, it is because they do not have current information on file with the company or the union.

We do have confirmed negotiation dates beginning in November and are prepared to negotiate in good faith for our members. The committee members are aware of the contract draft contents and can dispell any rumors that may surface regarding it's contents. As stated in the letter, this can take some time, so patience and solidarity are priority number one.

Our major concern at this time is Johnny Walkers treatment of pressroom employees in Los Angeles. One of our main concerns, and probably the most serious is that it appears our African American Community in the pressroom are predominantly in his crosshairs and have been subjected to his disrepectful treatment and diciplinary targeting. This is a very disturbing fact and this fact will be further investigated by our attorneys. I am attempting to schedule a meeting with some of our members and The NAACP to get their impression of these obvious statistics and solicit their support in bringing this to managements attention.

Everyone should be conscious of the threat Walker poses and remain diligent by doing everything by the book, remain in control and follow orders. It's obvious that you are all being baited into becoming insubordinate. Any reason to write you up, deny you a raise and ultimately termination, as we have just witnessed. Buy-outs cost money, terminations don't. They are looking for safety violations, so as I said, be diligent, take a safe, load with a partner and always be aware of who is in your immediate area. Watch out for one another, do not run to the office to report a fellow pressperson. We have all been under different levels of pressure in the shop, but there is no reason to hold eachother accountable when we all know that it was none of us who made the decisions that have brought us to the point our pressroom in L.A is today. All of the calls I have received complaining about being treated in an insulting, disrepectful manner and unfairly disiplined, have only come from Los Angeles pressroom members.

I have spoke to Russ Newton about these concerns and the numerous calls I have received about Walkers treatment towards pressroom employees and he said that he has not been informed by anyone about their specific issues concerning Walker. I did mention that none of us have felt that we can go to Management and/or Human Resources and receive a fair and impartial resolution for a long, long time, not to mention the fear of retaliation. Russ went on to say that he encourages pressroom employees to speak to him personally and he will investigate any concerns we present to him. He also went on to say that any retaliation against an employee who seeks his assistance will not be tolerated and the retaliator would be terminated.

So I encourage all of you who have been subjected to Walker's alledged intimidation, harassment and disrepectful treatment to accept Russ' invitation and provide him with the information he needs to do his part to return the L.A. pressroom to a hostile free enviroment. Our company handbook says that the company promises to provide us with a work environment free of discrimination, harassment and hostility, so it's up to all of you in L.A. to provide Russ with proof of mistreatment, so visit Russ soon and be sure to provide him with all the facts, including witnesses and we will provide the same to our attorneys in an effort to resolve our members concerns as quickly as possible.

I most recently was informed by two seperate individuals on Sunday and Monday nights in which their respective crews were forced to work through their lunch and were not given the option to go eat or accept compensation for working through their lunch. This is in violation of State Labor Laws requiring employers to allow employees a lunch period of 1/2 hour within 5 hours of the start of their shift. These violations have been brought to our attorney's attention as well and proper actions will be taken in this matter. Operator Keith Denson informed me that on Monday night he notified Supervisor Tony Specht of his desire to take lunch and that it is against the law to force him to work through his lunch which was met with Tony's arrogant response "be sure to spell my name right". Was that necessary? We will be sure to spell it right as he requested when we notify the State of this violation.

Why does pressroom supervision think that they have a right to be disprepectful when addressing pressroom employees in Los Angeles? Why do they so easily forget where they came from and how upset they were when they felt supervision was disrepectful towards them. How easily they forget. Alot of you were never living up to the expectations you place on us now!

It is totally obvious that Los Angeles is being punished for the fact that we now have Union Representation and Walker has no desire to give up any control over the pressroom when the fact of the matter is, he is completely out of control and is a danger to a diverse work force such as ours. Discrimination, harassment and hostility contradict all the values inscribed on the sign at the entrance of the Olympic plant entrance. Walker and Specht should stop and read it some time.


Ed Padgett said...

Ronnie, I would like to share an incident that occurred on my crew last Friday, September 21st, 2007 at about 1:20 p.m. on C Press at the Olympic Facility.

As we prepared the printing press for the San Fernando Valley zone edition my phone on the press rang, the caller, from another press crew, said my crewmembers needed my assistance. Before I departed for the reel room, I told my 1st and 2nd color men I would be downstairs helping out.

When I arrived downstairs I was taken by the presence of a pressroom supervisor, sitting on the bench facing my press crew reading the newspaper. This particular supervisor walks through the reel room frequently, but has never sat down to read the newspaper, so it was not a normal occurrence.

As I went to each crew member, three of the four felt he was watching them personally, looking for any fault or error as reason to write them up, and take away any raise that we may or may not get next year.

The crewmembers working on my press in the reel room this particular day were Evelyn Williams, Al Clark, Edward Young, and David Green, all four are African Americans.

This may be nothing, and the supervisor in question, could have been just reading the newspaper as he stated, but certainly makes one wonder what’s going on at the Los Angeles Times Pressroom?

Especially if you’re black!

Ronnie Pineda said...

I believe this would be the same supervisor who failed to call 911 when a fellow pressman went to him complaining of chest pain and numbness in his arm, and failed to recognize that the man in front of him was having a heart attack.

A call to 911 should have been made immediately and security notified. He should never have been asked if he wanted an ambulance, one should have been on the way by then.Security has been trained in life saving techniques including CPR and training to use defibrilators we have on sight. They weren't even called.

I hope that no one else suffers any physical trouble at work and place's their life in someone's hands that is incapable of recognizing that their life may be in jeopardy.

I am so happy that our fellow pressman survived this ordeal and everyone should learn from his incident and consider creating a plan amongst yourselves, with your crewmates to alert one another of any situation that may be life threatening and have them get assistance, including notifying the office.

Good Luck to our brother and a speedy and full recovery.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Walker

I just read the posting from my brothers and sisters at the L.A. Times, Not a smart move to run a pressroom with a hostile environment.

We at Newsday went through the same thing right before the last contract was signed.Well I'm very proud to say that all the people they brought in to cause this are GONE.

The pressroom once again is a great place to work, the new management team that replaced the old one are on the same page as the union, work together to get out the newspaper and make money for the company and everyone is HAPPY.

I personally thanked Mr. Knight (Publisher) at the last open house, that with the NEW management team in place the environment in the pressroom is back to normal.With a 12 billion dollar debt I think with the union and management working together, that is the best way to try and pay this off.
That is how we will ALL benefit with this ESOP. Mr. Zell has 12 billion reasons why one BAD APPLE is not going to DISTURB the cart!

My advice to you is, if you are looking to move up the ladder, the people in the pressroom can help you or hurt you, YOUR CALL. If you think for one minute Sam or Dennis is having you over any time soon for dinner, is very sad. When you get called down to H.R. say hi to my friend Jay Scott for me.

Thank You,
Mike La Spina B.A.
Local 406

Debra Taylor-Padgett said...

Wow, these so called "supervisors" are asking for a load of trouble.

I worked for Red Lobster restaurants and we were constantly being plagued by employees not "getting off the clock" for their 1/2 hour breaks because Red Lobster had been sued for thousands of dollars for that labor infraction.

All of the managers that were involved were promptly fired as a result of their negligence.

Hmmm, maybe that's what should happen there!!!

They are playing with fire and the State of California!!!

Anonymous said...

Hey Ron, Our plant manager is just as guilty. He knows all that Mr. Walker does.

Anonymous said...

H.R. should post our Wiengarten Rights,but they won't they rather not keep us informed of our rights.Why won't H.R. make Walker fallow this Right.Maybe Walker thinks he is a lawer or something.

Anonymous said...

I suppose if it had been four white guys in the reelroom being watched there would be no mention of it here. If you take away the race factor what is the work/attendance record of these individuals that are supposedly being persecuted at oly?

Anonymous said...

I thought we were in the business of running a paper, not waste.On 10/2/07 Walker had a afternoon crew run all stubs in house.The crew ran 17,500 good and 9,400 waste.How can upper manament allow this.Waste is Waste!

Anonymous said...

Walker is an a** and none too smart, but he is not a bigot. He is passionate and wants to do good for the company. Unfortunately, he just does not know leaders do this by inspiring their troops.

In Vietnam he would be called a rear echelon, cherry, 2nd lieutenant.

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