Monday, July 28, 2008

Close, but no cigar!

After hearing so much about the unclaimed lotto ticket that expired today I decided to check a ticket my wife and I bought on the anniversary of our certification, June 11th. As I looked at the ticket, I first checked to see if the mega number was there, and it was,15. The next number I checked for was number 14, it too was there! I continued to read and the third and fourth numbers were also there, 30 and 39. Am I seeing right? The next number 42 had to be there, and it was! The final number we needed.............. 31, .........too bad, we have 41. Close but no cigar. $11,000,000.00 was one number away, ten to be exact. No one hit all the numbers in this drawing and it rolled over. I consider this a great omen because of the day the ticket was purchased and hope that luck comes to all that read this.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Editorial Meeting with the Teamsters

Our colleagues in Editorial have taken the first step in having an actual voice in their newsrooms. On Tuesday July 22nd, a group of Editorial employees met with the Guild, this evening, at their request, a group met with our Teamster Representatives. This was the bold first step it takes to determine what they will do next.

I would describe this afternoon's meeting as a great start. I was reminded of our early organizing meetings, and where we are today. I have no doubt, another negotiating table is already waiting!

Our Organizer Marty Keegan opened the meeting explaining what role the Teamsters would play in organizing our Editorial department employees and the role the employees must play in order to successfully protect their interests.

Wrongfully terminated, Santa Barbara Newspress Writer, and former Los Angeles Times Writer, Dawn Hobbs attended this evening's meeting to address the attendees and give her personal account of what has taken place in Santa Barbara and the role the Teamsters have played during their ordeal. A video was shown highlighting their struggle against Owner Wendy McCaw and the numerous actions taken on behalf of the writers. Along with the Teamsters and Attorney, Ira Gottlieb, the writers have won in the NLRB and in Federal Court, numerous ULP'S (unfair labor practices) and Court rulings, including the decision ordering Wendy McCaw to reinstate these terminated writers with full back pay, benefits, and contributions to their retirements. "We knew the Teamsters were the right Union to represent us, and there was no other choice" Dawn Said.

I was very pleased to meet everyone who attended this evening and look forward to meeting many more of our colleagues from editorial very soon. This meeting is one that I have looked forward to in anticipation for quite some time now. I was invited by Marty to share our experiences in organizing our pressrooms and also gave a brief summary of negotiations.
A point I clearly made was that together, with Teamster representatives, we can both increase our ability to negotiate fair collective bargaining agreements, and effectively support each other during negotiations. I also pledged our assistance and support to get their organizing campaign off the ground and to help"immunize" them from the union busting tactics the company used on us, and will most likely begin to force on them.

I again used Newsday as the model for what we can, and should seek to accomplish here at the Times in order to deliver Sam the fight he deserves. The Teamsters represent the pressroom, editorial, machinists, mailers and drivers at Newsday. This is our goal, unfortunately minus the drivers. Best of luck and prayers for all of them and their families, we consider them family first, longtime friends and Teamster brothers and sisters.

The meeting closed with the understanding that a decision has to be made as to who will represent their interests at the table, and a future meeting soon once that decision is made, should that decision be Teamsters. The attendees will be communicating with their colleagues to arrange a meeting amongst themselves to reach their decision.

As many of you already know, The L.A. Times failed to re-new their contract with Ryder, again affecting the men and women formerly employed by the Times to deliver our newspaper. That decision left us wondering, was this purely economics or the company's way of reducing Teamster presence at the paper? Sam Zell doesn't want you to organize, and he certainly don't want you to organize with the Teamsters.

As reporters and writers, you are the Los Angeles Times, it all begins in the newsroom.

Thanks to the InkstainedRetch for making the meeting information available online and for encouraging this movement. I acknowledge that the Retch is neutral, and also acknowledge the contribution Tell Zell has provided to all of us.

Fraternally,
Ronnie Pineda

Survey Results Part 2

Page 1. Sam Zell, Senior Mgt. and Supervision
6. Senior Management , (Execs. VP's etc.) staffing levels are:
% of Respondents
Number of Respondents
Bloated
79.57%
74
Sufficient for the size of the operation
9.68%
9
Low, we need more executives
3.23%
3
OTHER:

bloated and over paid and elitist !!
1.08%
1
Ineffective and not true employees as most have come from outside of company in last 3 years. Too new to have buy-in to past company culture.
1.08%
1
Publisher and next level of leadershipt haven proven to be impotent and incapable. Why haven't they all been replaced?
1.08%
1
There are some extra VP's that can be cut. Not the real personnel who are getting the paper out on deadline.
1.08%
1
too new to the newspaper industry to understand news and the relationships within the areas served by each paper.
1.08%
1
Way bloated. How can we make two VP's a week and still be in "Right sizing mode"?
1.08%
1
We could save a lot of money by downsizing idiots who can only think of shrinking the paper and reducing the newsroom.
1.08%
1
Number of respondents
93
Number or respondents who skipped this question
61
----------------------------------------------------

7. Do you think Senior Mgt. is over compensated for the job they do?
% of Respondents
Number of Respondents
Yes, Corporate wages are out of control.
91.11%

82
No, they earn what they are paid. We are the ones that are overpaid.
3.33%
3
OTHER:

Don't know how much money they actually make.
1.11%
1
don't think this is the issue...the issue is how they are treating the staff and what they are doing within the business units.
1.11%
1
Let's outscource their jobs to control costs. Some workers in the Phillipines or India couldn't hurt.
1.11%
1
Yes, they are over compensated when they have failed as most of them have. Disclose what these new Zell executives are being paid or promised? Are they bigger partners/owners than we unrepresented partners/owners are?
1.11%
1
YES. They have always been over compensated.
1.11%
1
Number of respondents
90
Number or respondents who skipped this question
64
---------------------------------------------------

8. Do you think it makes business sense to promote executives at a time when long time workers are being laid-off in masses?
% of Respondents
Number of Respondents
No, especially because workers are losing jobs!
86.67%
78
Yes, we need executives more than workers
7.78%

7
OTHER:
Granted HIller's re-organization of top executives into silos and his doling out of new "president" titles was completely stupid and corrupt --they and one level down, all should have been fired, except for Avetesian. The problem is incompetence being promoted. Promotions when others being laid off, isn't a problem. It will be required. It is who is being promoted and who is being laid off that is the problem. Clean house of the incompetent "senior team" and one level down. Promote those who or able or find executives who are.
1.11%
1
I think upper management is making poor choices in hiring the right people for upper management positions. The company is headed for a lawsuit the way upper management is treating "the new employee owners"
1.11%
1
Stop hiring high-priced Clear Channel executives.
1.11%
1
they get fat wallets from our blood and sweat
1.11%
1
We are fireing all of us . Hell why not sell the Square, no on works there any more.
1.11%
1
Number of respondents
90
Number or respondents who skipped this question
64
---------------------------------------------------

9. Do you think Senior Mgt. considers it's employees and their families when making major company decisions?
% of Respondents
Number of Respondents
No, they only care about themselves and their families.
84.62%
77

Yes, you would hope so.
9.89%
9
OTHER:

No - the level of self-interest in high levels of this company is appalling. Repulsive.
1.10%
1
They care about some employees i.e. their pets; others they kick to the curb.
1.10%
1
They don't care about anyone. It is so scary that they would cut their best friends throat in a minute if that would promote them to the next level.
1.10%
1
They have a job to do per Sam Zell. If they don't meet those instructions, they to can be eliminated.
1.10%
1
They make decisions based on business needs, not employee needs. What an entitlist question.
1.10%
1
Number of respondents
91

Number or respondents who skipped this question
63
---------------------------jump to page 4--------------------------
These are your answers to the final question

Page 4. If I really owned this place...
1. If I really owned this place, I would......
1
give Sam Zell a free hand to hire and fire.
2
Hire top personnel who know what the mission of a newspaper is and kick the greedy so-and-sos who control this place to the curb.
3
find a local owner!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
4
1. I would appreciate the people who work here and create an environment that enables individuals to contribute from a position of true ownership. 2. I would demand supervision be responsive and respectful to employees and their concerns, and visa versa. 3. I would take employee input seriously and explore all ideas to grow the business and reward efforts above and beyond expectations 4. Fire Russ Newton and Johnny Walker!
5
sell it to David Geffen.
6
Fire all of the incompetent Managers that are at both OLY and OC facility.
7
sell some fucking ads instead of fidgeting with editorail content
8
BE RICH AND NOT GIVE A CRAP.
9
Get rid of Zell and most Tribune executives.
10
Rethink the entire newspaper position. I would continue with cost efficient moves with respect to employies and their families. I would create a newspaper that promotes editorials and give readers what they want. Not the continuing reduction of our papers news,stories,and editorials.
11
Stop the bonuses and stock options to Management.
12
hopefully sell the Los Angeles Times to a more local owner that would keep the paper like it is, giving our readers and advertisers one of the best newspapers in the world. I would also give the "employee owners" more respect and more of a voice in the direction and decisions made at all levels. I would also get word to management to quit playing games and bargain with the union Pressroom members. I would cut out all bonuses to all employees and allow access to all salaries company wide. As an "owner" I should know what someones salary is in all areas, from the top to the bottom. Lastly, I would take distribute the money in the Pfafinger foundation to all former Times Mirror employees ,past and present ,based on years of service. I think were going to need it.
13
... get more reporters into the Greater L.A. communities we're supposed to cover and make the paper relevant to our readers ... insist on TIMELY reporting so we're the ones who break the news, not chase it; this is especially important for our stories online ... give plant employees a lounder voice to educate management and an ombusdman to see their ideas to fruition
14
make sure that journalists are running it at every level and sell the paper to a local private owner who appreciates its contributions to the LA community,
15
fire sam zell.
16
make it a plaesent place to work .
17
1.More local coverage of high school sports 2.Cut the number of V.P.s by combining their assignments 3.Fire Hiller replace him with a publisher with a So. Cal background 4.Return the company to more of a family friendly place to work by having BBQ's at the beach or a park 5. Support employe days at Santa Anita or Dodger games 6. Bring in more printing or stuffing jobs into the plants 7.Create a better 401K plan for retirement.
18
like into what readers and advertisers want
19
hire more pressmen , so the work can get done more safely and our product would look better to our readers.
20
fire Sam
21
sell it
22
Be highly involved with the community at large . I would want the people that I expected to buy my paper have a sincere trust in me so that my paper would be trusted to be one that gave the whole story and from a unbiast position. I would work to keep people more people employed maybe look at heavy supervision , sometimes If I had to lay off someone I could lay off one manager and keep three productive employees . What a concept ?
23
I would fir all the assholes
24
I would consentrate on the workers and not on bonuses for upper management.
25
I would put a cap on executives compensation so they could not walk out the door with millions or earn multi millions while others are being let go. If the company has to let people go then it should not be giving raises. I would bring back company provided retirements instead of 401k's or ira's. Our insurance premiums and co-pays would be lowered back to how they used to be and the prescription service changed back to using our own pharmacy instead of mail-in.
26
GIve Sam a raise.
27
aggressively promote the newspaper and its employees
28
invest in quality products and people that provide content that our readers really want.
29
Get read of the top mng
30
I would hire people,i would compete,i would fight for are market share.
31
do all I could to restore the journalistic excellence, increase the community pride and stewardship in the paper, and continue to innovate to meet the growing needs of the diverse Southern California community.
32
Limit the amount an executive recieves to one years salary when leaving the company. Bring back paperboys hawking newspapers during rush hour, and even add an afternoon edition, as a method of increasing circulation.
33
get employee input on all decisions
34
asking employees for there ideas not just via email as we all don't have email with the times. how come we have 7 reelroom coor. and we dont have enought staff for OC.
35
freez all management pay and re-evalutae employee pay......eliminate supervisors and leads and have the managers pick up the work load
36
Fire much of the management, realign salaries, promote those left out in the cold, and NOT incentivize kiss asses.
37
Try and turn the paper into a most wanted reading implament
38
put more faith in the employees, lay off half the supervisors, and fire all the senior management.
39
start at the top
40
bring back more local news to the oc sect. and the ie sect. so that readers in that area really had a paper that they would want to identify with. and send out surveys to past subscribers to find out why they quit the paper and ask them what they liked or disliked about the paper. I also would take a close look at what the compensation packages of the senior management employees are. and last I would really listen to all of the current employees and find out what they think could turn this paper around, after all we have alot of 20 plus year people employees here. it might be a good idea to listen to them, not just be concerned with the next rent check.
41
not have sold it to Sam Zell
42
I WOULD PUT QUALITY BACK INTO THE PAPER;S STORIES AND REPORTING.
43
fire john walker.
44
RUN THE LA TIMES MUCH BETTER AND TRY TO SAVE AS MANY JOBS AS POSSIBLE.
45
listen to the employees. Learn from their ideas and compensate them like we did before. Get rid of the extra luggage by sitting in with each department and make sure that the time is being utilized in a proper manner.
46
quit wasting money and shrink management and realy communicate with the employees
47
I would eliminate the dept manager position.
48
Stop the Corporate control of the news and start truly informing the public to think critically and stop the dumbing down with Fluff, Celebrity Worship, and infotainment that is rotting America and reducing us to a Third World Soap Opera.
49
treat all everybody fair . and with respect..
50
More local news ! Hell were zoneing the shit out of everything why not the sports pages ? and less Lib context in the news , save thet for the editorial page , Im so sick of reading the body count out of Iraq that Quotes the same damm web sight thet tell Me in every article How maneyHave been Killed in Iraq. Every Day we read that crap, to the point no one reads it any more and that is truly sad because the War, and it is a War is not being reported. just Propandga.
51
not panic and have a true financial gameplan
52
Take care of my employees
53
make this the paper it once was a great paper a paper for all to read that surpast all other papers againwith great sports not telltape great editorial ad like guns and anything that any body want to advertise in our great paper show freedom of speechand freedom to print what would make us great again
54
close oc and fire all management and rehire.
55
Make a valient effort to improve employee moral in these trying times. It's our only hope. I would also hold people accountible for their work or lack there of. There is no longer a place for slackers, doo-dahs, numb nuts, slugs, weenies, or whiners in this company. We are all making pretty good money. We need to be professionals and all pull together as a team and make something happen in our perspective areas. Or get out. The decision should be an easy one.
The remaining production results to follow

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

OH NO NOT AGAIN !

I don't know what to say ,except I'm sorry. A lot of us know somebody that drives for Ryder (They drove for the Los Angeles Times also )These people have already given so much. Sam you suck ! Try to stay strong people and God bless.

Boned Again By the Times!

The L.A. Times have again stooped to another low in their vain attempt to save a buck! I was informed last night that The L.A. Times will not be renewing their contract with Ryder Logistics. That means the drivers will again be victims of the Times belt tightening.

Brandt Bros. and Fox will never compare to these men and women that have proven for decades that they are the best at what they do, and that is deliver the L.A. Times. Too bad they are again being under appreciated for their irreplaceable contribution to this company.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Survey Results Part 1

Page 1. Sam Zell, Senior Mgt. and Supervision

1. Do you think Sam Zell is the right owner for the Los Angeles Times?
% of Respondents ----------Number of Respondents
Yes
9.38%
-----------------------9
No
80.21%
----------------------77
OTHER
Hell no!
1.04%-------------------------1
I feel that the owner of this paper should be someone concerned with this community and that would want to use the power of this paper to make a mark on this community
1.04%------------------------1
It should be local owned......
1.04%------------------------1
too early to tell
1.04%------------------------1
no, should have local ownership
1.04%------------------------1
Cares about his Billions and nothing else.
1.04%------------------------1
I truly believe that Sam Zell has no interest in restoring the Tribune Companys.He once stated that "we must sell our logo its all we have" Now he wants to sell the two most important properties in the Tribune Co.He will tear this company down to nothing and profit from it all.
1.04%-----------------------1
doesn't give a shit about anything but money
1.04%-----------------------1
i definitely dont he only cares about the real estate profit and not the people or the la times as a great newspaper
1.04%-----------------------1
He can care less about the employees. He's an INVESTER. That's how he became a billionaire.
1.04%-----------------------1
Number of respondents
94
Number or respondents who skipped this question
60
2. Do you think Employee Elected Representatives should sit on the ESOP Board of trustees?
% of Respondents ---------------Number of Respondents

Yes, afterall it's an ESOP
90.32%
-----------------84

No, we can trust Sam
6.45%
----------------------6
OTHER
Hell yeah !! after all we are " partners"
1.08%-------------------------1
I dont think that any times or tribune excutives should be on any commity like this
1.08%-------------------------1
You need someone who knows what is happening in the inside.
1.08%-------------------------1
Number of respondents
93
Number or respondents who skipped this question
61
3. Do you think it is right for Sam Zell to lay off partner/employees when he borrowed against their retirement by creating an ESOP to purchase Tribune?
% of Respondents -----------------Number of Respondents

Yes, he has to pay his bills.
9.57%
-----------------------------9

NO, He said "You own this place now"
85.11%----------------------------80
OTHER
He's Sam Zell. he's going to do whatever he wants, as long as it makes him richer.
1.06%-----------------------------1
How about upper management take a cut in pay, to save money.
1.06%-----------------------------1
no how can he borrow my money without my permision ?
1.06%-----------------------------1
Should have never been allowed to leverage so much debt to buy Tribune.
1.06%-----------------------------1
we dont own shit zell could give a shit about you or me
1.06%-----------------------------1
Number of respondents
94
Number or respondents who skipped this question
60

4. Newsday has been sold, would you like to see Sam Zell sell the L.A. Times, preferably to a local owner.
% of Respondents ------------------Number of Respondents

No, Sam Zell is a good owner for the L.A.Times
7.53%
----------------------------------7
Yes, the sooner the better!
88.17%
-------------------------------82
OTHER
yes, put the times back to local ownership. the times on its own can make a profit to substain it self. and we can go back to being one of the great news papers in journalisms we once were.
1.08%---------------------------------1
Sell it to someone who knows about the newspaper.
1.08%---------------------------------1
sooner the better so our paper can be great again since the takeover of the tribune the great la times hit rock bottom at our cost
1.08%---------------------------------1
We should be owned locally. Chicago and Zell hates the west coast culture.
1.08%---------------------------------1
Number of respondents
93
Number or respondents who skipped this question
61

5. Do you think Sam Zell was dishonest with the employees at the L.A. Times when he visited in February?
% of Respondents ---------------------Number of Respondents

Yes, he said he did not agree with Tribunes business model of cutting staff to incure savings.
82.61%
-----------------------------------76
No, he was honest and sincere.
9.78%
-------------------------------------9
OTHER
He may not have been apprised of the big picture.
1.09%-----------------------------------1
He was honest to a point,but how do you change anything when leaving the same cut first people in charge of growing your business
1.09%----------------------------------1
He"s a thief
1.09%----------------------------------1
I wouldn't use the word dishonest. Ignorant fits just fine. But it feels about the same either way.
1.09%----------------------------------1
Like he said he is a "business man " bottom line that speaks volumes
1.09%----------------------------------1
waiting to see
1.09%----------------------------------1
Wall street called the shots that destoryed us, now the Bankers are doing the same song and dance.
1.09%----------------------------------1
Number of respondents
92
Number or respondents who skipped this question
62
More to come!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Survey Results Coming Soon!

I haven't forgotten, just been busy, no suspense intended.

Although this survey was a breeze to create, finding the best way to make the results available online haven't been. The results I previously posted had to be cut and pasted onto the blog, then I had to lay it out on the page. I hope I don't have to do the same for all the results, but if I do, I will.

You will have them before the weekend is over.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Up to Speed with Sonny Shannon

Yesterdays meetings went great. All that attended were introduced to our Lead Negotiator, GCC/IBT International Representative, "Sonny" Shannon. His first name is John, but he says he uses Sonny because it takes too long to say his full name, I've heard him say it, it's true!

Sonny brings a strong presence to the table and is sincere in his service to our bargaining unit. The negotiation committee has put it's full confidence in both Sonny and Mike Huggins without reservation.
Both of these men have proven to be committed to our bargaining unit and have convinced the committee that we indeed have the best representatives in the business. I think those of you that met him yesterday would agree.

Topics discussed were related to current production raises. An information request pertaining to the raises was presented at negotiations on July 9th and the company was not prepared to respond to our information request when we met again on July 16th.
We expect to receive that response at our next meeting.

Sonny explained our decision to contact advertisers and to run radio ads as well as their effects.The company's bargaining style does, and will determine whether or not we continue these type of actions to increase our position at the table. We presented language to create an evironment of cooperation in bargaining which the company representative stated they could agree to in concept. We have agreed to bargain from a position of "Mutual Interest"
If we stay true to this concept we will reach agreements that will provide both sides what they each need, and not necessarily what they each want. We will attempt to reach agreements and create the language to reflect those agreements, hopefully resulting in a contract sooner than later.

Many complaints were heard about evaluations that were given in which great disparitys between these evaluations and past evaluations are evident. We have addressed this at the table and will continue to do so. We do not agree with this process because it continues to cater to favortism by those who evaluate.

We also delivered your complaints about supervision's inconsistant placement of presspersons added to a crew when the absence of a crew member occurs. In the event of a vacancy on a crew, regardless of the reason, additional personell has historically, according to their model, gone to the bottom of the crew and the members on the crew move up until the vacant crew spot is filled. Our SVP's response was that they have always had the right to put replacement crew members anywhere on the crew based on production needs and the individuals skills. I strongly disagreed and told him that the reasons explained to those who complained were told "thats the way it is, and that's the way it's going to stay. Nothing about production needs or skills.
I don't think this will be the end of this subject.

Our next negotiations are scheduled for July 30th and 31st.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

what ! More of the same !

well I'm not surprised.once again the company makes noise like they are willing to negotiate but alas no cigar.Same old bull .You know when I was a young lad my father used to say actions speak louder than words.That still holds true today.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Another Debt that won't get paid!

This goes out to the 250 unfortunate employee/partner casualties throughout the Los Angeles Times that visit TELL ZELL and to the inkstainedretch for his commitment to both the newspaper and peers in editorial. Keep up the good work Retch, the number of people speaking out is growing, all the while staffing continues to go down.
In Solidarity, From your brothers and sisters in the Pressrooms!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Union Chapel Meeting

It is time to get everyone informed once again so Chapel Meetings have been scheduled for Thursday, July 17th. We will meet at the usual places, Round Table Pizza in Fountain Valley (map) on Warner & Euclid at 11:am and Shakeys Pizza in East Los Angeles (map) on Cesar Chavez Blvd just east of the 5 Golden State Fwy at 6:oo pm.

Cesar Chavez has a boulevard named after him for all his work in the labor movement improving the lives of many people. Do you think Sam Zell will ever have a street named after him?... just popped into my head.

Our negotiator, GCC/IBT International Representative Sonny Shannon and GCC/IBT Lead Organizer Marty Keegan will provide details from our negotiations and provide answers to your questions. Sonny looks forward to meeting all of you and Marty looks forward to seeing all of you again.Our next negotiations are scheduled for Wednesday,July 16th so the information that they will be delivering on Thursday will be as up to date as you could ask for.

Everyone from all departments are encouraged to attend, we have heard many of our collegues throughout the Times are strongly considering joining us in becoming a stronger voice in our future, however long, or short that may be.

(Reminder, the survey is due to close on July 15th at 12:am so if you haven't taken it yet, do so now! I will provide the results of the survey at our meetings and here on our blog.) Click here to take it now!

Guess who the snake is! It is good to have friends!

See all of you there and please don't come alone!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Negotiations Update

Tribune's announcement of 250 (MORE) employee cuts here at the Los Angeles Times has been a concern for pressroom employees, having just gone through buy-outs a couple of months ago. We lost another 27 presspersons and 4 pressroom utility employees at that time bringing our pressroom staffing to approximately 250 bargaining unit employees between the two pressrooms. Negotiation Committee brother Keith Denson asked if the pressroom was again targeted in this round of cuts, to which the company's lead negotiator responded, we are not. That should be of comfort to many of us who survived the last round of buy-outs. Lets hope that our industry levels off, or begins to improve at some point soon to establish and maintain some stability to our staffing levels in all departments.

Our first order of business was to address the merit based wage increases currently being given to production employees. The company representatives explained that the raises are a new merit based wage increase "HYBRID". HUH? Yeah we were puzzled too.

We have given an information request to the company pertaining to the wage increases and informed them that we would accept a wage increase along with all production employees as was done last year and will continue to bargaining wage increases in the interim.
We will have more on this matter at our next session on the 16Th when we receive their responses to our info request.

"ScabSchool" is what our representative Sonny Shannon called managements paster make-up training on Tuesday morning. As far as supervision learning to make straight-line paster make-ups, we were told it was for training purposes. The company's lead negotiator reiterated a previous statement he made months ago that the company will do whatever it needs to do to get a newspaper on the street. That lead us to believe that management was concerned over a suggested "sick-out" on Wednesday, July 9Th posted on inkstainedretch's TELL ZELL blog, and the possibility that we may, in sympathy, participate in this sick-out. I commented on this type of action, and the dangers they pose to employees on Ed's blog and Tell Zell. Can you say Paranoia?

Again, the issue of assigning presspersons on crews in the event of absences was addressed. It was the company's original model that when an individual on a crew is absent, all crew members below the absent individual move up on the crew ladder until the absentee's position is filled. Presspersons added to the crew after this climbing procedure, back fill the vacant positions vacated by the crew members that moved up. We asked that the supervisors at both plants adhere to this process. Names of affected employees and examples were given to management to investigate. Seniority must be honored in placement on crew when multiple positions on a crew require back filling with the most senior filling the higher vacant spot until all crew positions are staffed. Company response to follow.

Some good news for the Mitchell Family. As some of you were made aware from a previous post, brothers Myron Mitchell and Otis Miller were force transfered to Orange County as a result of the recent pressroom buy-outs. Both Myron and Otis reside in Palmdale which is approximately a 2 hour drive, one way. The commute and fuel prices forced these men to remain close to the plant and share a room locally, and to my surprise, occassionally, sleep in their automobiles. In Myron's case this will change as he will be returning to the Olympic Plant on Thursday July 10th. I would like a volunteer from L.A. that resides near the O.C. plant to consider transfering down to O.C. to allow Otis to return to Oly, and like Mitch now, return to his family nightly. Contact me if you would be willing to exercise your compassion for a brother and his family.

There were a couple of other housekeeping issues, one, regarding my crew specifically and a fellow crew member's ability to float vacation days.

Contract language update to follow (all good news), I really need some sleep! Come back to this post later today to continue.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Well here we go !

Today supervisors and other management were making up pasters today.Is this a sign from Zell ? Is this a test to bring in reel tenders ? Who knows.Ask your supervisor what this is about.See what they say.Are your friends in the office trying to take your job away ? Again I've seen a few press people starting work early.What is that about ? Haven't we lost enough already. Tell these people its wrong,Its against labor law ! Its time to step up and be counted .Times are tough we have to stick together.Cant you see that ?Senor management doesn't care about you.I do.We do.Let us together get thru this and save our jobs ! Tell management you are not happy about this new development,be heard .

Friday, July 04, 2008

Happy Independence Day

I hope you all have a safe and memorable 4th of July.

The fight for freedom never ends.........

Where to Begin????

This is question # 6 on our survey and it seems very appropriate to ask at this time.

Senior Management , (Execs. VP's etc.) staffing levels are:
% of Respondents -------- Number of Respondents

Bloated
80.28%
57
Sufficient for the size of the operation
8.45%
6
Low, we need more executives
2.82%
2
OTHER:
bloated and over paid and elitist !!
1.41%
1
Ineffective and not true employees as most have come from outside of company in last 3 years. Too new to have buy-in to past company culture.
1.41%
1
Publisher and next level of leadershipt haven proven to be impotent and incapable. Why haven't they all been replaced?
1.41%
1
There is some extra VP's that can be cut. Not the real personnel who is getting the paper out on deadline.
1.41%
1
too new to the newspaper industry to understand news and the relationships within the areas served by each paper.
1.41%
1
We could save a lot of money by downsizing idiots who can only think of shrinking the paper and reducing the newsroom.
1.41%
1
Number of respondents
71
Figures based on 71 respondents .
Number or respondents who skipped this question
52
Where to begin........
Final statistics will be disclosed at close of survey on July 15th

Thursday, July 03, 2008

How Can Partners fire Partners?

In light of the news that another 250 Los Angeles Times employees, (Aka Sam Zell Partners) will be leaving, as announced by Publisher David Hiller and Editor Russ Stanton, I decided to post the responses we have generated thusfar from Survey question #3. .

Do you think it is right for Sam Zell to lay off partner/employees when he borrowed against their retirement by creating an ESOP to purchase Tribune?

% of Respondents Number of Respondents

Yes, he has to pay his bills. 7.58% 5

NO, He said "You own this place now" 86.36% 57


Other:

He's Sam Zell. he's going to do whatever he wants, as long as it makes him richer.
1.52% 1
How about upper management take a cut in pay, to save money.
1.52% 1
no how can he borrow my money without my permision ?
1.52% 1
Should have never been allowed to leverage so much debt to buy Tribune.
1.52% 1

Number of respondents
66

Number or respondents who skipped this question
48

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Survey Update

The survey is going great! We have had over 100 responses in just 2 days, some of which are from our collegues in editorial. I have reviewed some of the responses and it is obvious that some of the supervisors are are evaluating themselves. I could have invited responses via e-mail, by "password only" to prevent this from happening but I wanted to allow anonymity and give everyone the opportunity to answer the questions relating to Sam and Management. I hope all of the supervisors and management who did answers questions relating to their own performance consider allowing us to evaluate ourselves next time and I guarantee they will see as many "H"s as they are giving themselves.

In spite of this obvious intrusion, the survey is providing great perspective from you, the employees in the form of your write in answers. I will post all of the responses at the close of the survey on July 15th. I will also post some of the responses that warrant instant publishing rather than waiting for the close of the survey.

Thanks to all of you who already took the time to respond, here are some of your responses to the final question "If I really owned this place"

Get more reporters into the Greater L.A. communities we're supposed to cover and make the paper relevant to our readers ... insist on TIMELY reporting so we're the ones who break the news, not chase it; this is especially important for our stories online ... give plant employees a lounder voice to educate management and an ombusdman to see their ideas to fruition

Do all I could to restore the journalistic excellence, increase the community pride and stewardship in the paper, and continue to innovate to meet the growing needs of the diverse Southern California community.

Limit the amount an executive recieves to one years salary when leaving the company. Bring back paperboys hawking newspapers during rush hour, and even add an afternoon edition, as a method of increasing circulation.

Sell some fucking ads instead of fidgeting with editorail content

Invest in quality products and people that provide content that our readers really want.

Treat everybody fair and with respect..

Sell it to David Geffen.

If you haven't taken the survey yet, what are you waiting for? Do it now by clicking here.

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