Monday, September 22, 2008

Targeted for Discipline

I have spent the weekend listening to stories from our brothers and sisters in Los Angeles describing the way Walker and Supervision are on a mission to find any reason to write people up. This has resulted in NTF's (note to file) which have again become an issue. Why is it that supervision can stick notes in your file and not discuss the content of these notes with the employees. These are put in your file without your knowledge denying you the opportunity to respond and challenge if wrongly accused.

When discussed with Management, it was stated that we are supposed to be notified that we were observed breaking a rule, what that rule was, and that it was going to be noted and inserted into our file. This procedure appears to not happen as many discovered when they asked to see their files or when receiving their evaluation.

These NTF's are used when preparing evaluations and in most of the stories I listened to, individuals were told they would not receive a wage increase. Is that the true reason, to save a buck and deny a raise or because they are concerned about procedures and safety? At this rate no one in Los Angeles will ever get a raise or maintain employment for that matter.

Two Operators have recently been pulled from their crews for alleged poor performance, again being held responsible for what are most likely mechanical or electrical problems with the equipment. There are so many variables when problems occur and I believe the percentage that are a result of human error are far lower than all others, but that don't matter because they can't write up and discipline the presses. For the longest time operators have argued that smaller runs result in higher waste percentages and some goals they are expected to meet are unrealistic, yet they are accountable for the waste.

The one resounding message that came from the conversations I had with our brothers and sisters in L.A. was that Walker creates a hostile environment in their shop. They feel like they are being harassed by supervision at the hand of Walker. I have been told that even his supervisors question his leadership, but they don't dare cross him or they will be subject to his disciplinary tactics as well. His tactics aren't new, they are reminiscent of his behavior at the San Diego Tribune. When at a rally in San Diego I had the opportunity to speak to some of our brothers in the pressroom and they said they were sorry that we ended up with "STUMPY" His style of management still leaves a bad taste in their mouths just talking about him, they said.

The issues I was made aware of this weekend have been forwarded to our Representatives and we will seek answers and where necessary, resolution. Until then all of you have to be diligent and work as though your job depends on it, because it does!

Sunday, September 21, 2008


Employers have made "Union Busters" DISGUSTINGLY RICH by retaining their services to rob employees from ever being able to make a decision free from Propaganda, Lies, Fear, Intimidation, and Captive Audience Anti-Union Meetings in the workplace. Union organizers cannot force the same employees to come to Union Organizing Meetings. Employers pay you to listen obviously because they're always held during work hours. Secret Ballot Elections for Union Representation give Employers time to let the Union Busters get in and do their dirty work by coaching Management on how to defeat the Union organizing effort by their employees. Many times in doing so, their tactics teeters on the law. The Employee Free Choice Act will allow employees to organize an Union in their workplace simply by signing an Authorization Card for Union Representation instead of for an Election. So if a majority of employees signs cards authorizing Union Representation, then the next step would be certification and then, negotiations. That's where we are today, and this video has some hilarious similarities to what we've heard and seen here over the years, and what it could become or worst without Representation. So if you have this uncontrolable urge to sign something,

Friday, September 19, 2008

Selfish Opportunists

I know that the knuckleheads that are trying to bring union representation to a halt are only doing so to protect their own personal interests.

Someone who steals money from the company by manipulating the office enabling himself to pick up overtime shifts at his whim should be more concerned about senior management finding out about this fact (and so should be the supervisors that are aware of it). Earn your money fairly and honestly first, then tell us what is good for the rest of us. I was told only last week by a couple of confidential sources that he removed a trainer's name from an overtime shift as an operator, replacing it with his own name, only to have a supervisor later remove it and return the trainer's name. No big deal, he was given an overtime shift the following afternoon. I'm curious, did anyone sign up for overtime that afternoon with less overtime? Most likely. So he not only steals from the company, he tried to take money out of the pocket of a fellow pressroom employee.

Don't listen to his bullshit or succumb to his threats, he is ONLY doing this to maintain the sweetheart deal that he has enjoyed for way too long. Practically everyone in the Orange County pressroom has stated that he should have been terminated or put at the bottom in seniority when he cried to be let out of the office, only after crying to get in there. Why didn't he stay in the office? That's where he is all the time anyway! Why the company allows this is still a mystery. He told me over the phone, that he had an ORAL agreement, (the rest of us usually refer to that as a VERBAL agreement). Does any one besides him in the bargaining unit have expressed agreements with management? Didn't think so. With whom is this so called oral agreement? Kurtich? He's gone, and besides, Kurtich wouldn't have had the authority to make any such deal according to the company's "At Will employment policy, which states that any agreements between employees and management must be in writing and signed by the Publisher.

Now for the rat, I mean snitch, I mean other knucklehead. This one said "as long as Walker is in charge in L.A. I won't sign a de-certification petition" As far as I know, Walker is still in L.A.

I knew it was crap when it came out of his head. I have never trusted this one and was warned not to trust him (among others) the day I arrived in O.C. I have had painful conversations with him and I'm convinced he doesn't have a clue, and also thinks only about himself.

The machine shop wants him to stay the hell out of there and quit taking people off the press to sign your petition when they're supposed to be working, by the way, so are you.

Essentially you have an individual who couldn't handle it behind the desk, and the other that can't stay out from under it asking you to risk everything, when they themselves will benefit for their participation in this petition circulation.

Since coming to Orange County, I have NEVER heard a good thing said about either of these people and would not trust them for shit, and neither should any of you. Did everybody in O.C. forget how pissed off all of you were when one of these two knuckleheads was allowed to return to the floor with ALL of his seniority after being in management for approximately two years? I have the letters and petitions that were signed by many of you at that time, and I hope that if your name was on that petition, it won't be on this petition.

He didn't give a shit about what you thought or felt then, and he sure as hell don't give a shit about what you think now! Don't do their bidding, and don't sign the petition!

September 17th & 18th Negotiations Update

Negotiations resumed on September 17th and 18th at which time many more tentative agreements were reached. This is extremely satisfying considering the rough road we were on early in negotiations. We reached tentative agreements regarding Hours of work and Overtime. We addressed some of the miscellaneous provisions from the company's proposals including uniforms, safety shoes, parking and security cameras as well.

The Economics of our contract will be negotiated very soon. Those negotiations will deal with wages, benefits and retirement. At this time, bargaining unit employee raises will be covered and we intend to negotiate a wage package that will provide the financial stability we need to continue to provide for our families.

This round of negotiations, as well as our previous round of negotiations proved to be extremely fruitful and much was accomplished. We on the committee feel that we made up for lost time and are on schedule to complete this process in the anticipated time frame. Negotiations began less than a year ago and we are right where we expected to be in negotiations. For the record, first time contracts are known to take longer than other negotiations, so the elapsed time is not unusual for where we currently are. For this reason, it is foolish to even consider tampering with the progress made in contract negotiations.

We on the committee and our Representatives are very aware of the fact that raises are a priority for our bargaining unit. What kind of a raise should also be a priority, and it is with your elected committee, we want a raise too! We want to be sure it will be an increase that we will actually be able to benefit from financially.

Past raises under Tribune have done absolutely nothing to enhance our spending power, especially when they take it right back in the form of benefit cost increases. They give it with one hand, and take it back with the other. Merit Raises are not in our best interest as proven by the favoritism that is exhibited by supervision and management. All the Suck asses get the higher percentages, and do nothing extra to deserve it, at least not in the form of work.

The evaluation process which determines whether you get one or not, is rife with favoritism as well as discrimination, plus, your wages depend on the same supervisors (and a certain superintendent) (that can, and do target employees for discipline) to prepare your evaluation.

How many of you got a shitty evaluation this time around? Is that because your work habits changed, or the person doing your evaluation changed. I wish some of these supervisors that came from our ranks would remember where they came from and the type of workers they were when they were in our boots. I'm surprised some supervisors are actually in those positions considering their performance as pressmen (I use the term loosely), yet they are given the responsibility of judging our work performance. Ask anyone in L.A. about the evaluations they just received and also ask if they disagree with this process.

A "General Raise" across the board if the FAIREST way to receive a wage increase. Don't let these two numb skulls talk you into signing the petition because as I said, they will be rewarded for screwing everyone (if they succeed) and everyone is as Sam would say "FUCKED"
Please be patient, as I said, we intend to negotiate a raises that will be both fair and financially beneficial. The committee needs your support to be successful in this endeavor and ask that you allow us to complete our mission to negotiate a fair collective bargaining agreement for all of us.

Remember, everyone will have the right to vote on the tentative agreements reached in contract negotiations and if less than a majority agrees to ratify it, we will go back to the table. If a majority approves, then it will be ratified. Representation has cost us not a penny and won't until we agree on a contract. At least wait to see the contract. The negotiating committee has your's and your families best interest at heart and will continue to work hard to achieve success.
Don't sign the petition, or have your name removed if you have.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Ex-Times reporters sue Zell

Kevin Roderick
I'm told that lawyers representing current and former Los Angeles Times newsroom staffers are filing a class-action federal lawsuit against Sam Zell and Tribune this morning in Los Angeles, alleging breaches of fiduciary duty, conflicts of interest and other violations of ERISA, the law that safeguards the proper handling of retirement benefits like pensions and trusts. The plaintiffs include several familiar bylines and at least one current Times star. A team has been looking into Zell's leveraged takeover of Tribune almost since he used employee money to get the company.
Details to come.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Don't Sign The Petition!

(Originally Posted) Friday, September 22, 2006

"Employment at will" While it is hoped that your employment with the Company will be mutually rewarding, your employment relationship with the Company is at-will.This means that either you or the company may terminate this relationship at any time, for reason, with or without cause or notice. At-will employment also means that the Company may make decisions regarding other terms and conditions of employment at any time with or without cause or notice including but not limited to demotion, discipline, promotion, transfer, compensation, benefits, duties and location of work. Any agreement for employment for any specified period of time or for any promises or commitments contrary to the foregoing can only be made by a company officer. Any such agreement that changes your at-will employment status must be explicit, in writing, and signed by both you and the Publisher of the Company to be enforceable.
Source: Los Angeles Times Employee Handbook

This is why you need to sign a card and vote yes!

(end of post)

I hope you read the language in green closely, it explicitly describes a collective bargaining agreement. We negotiate everything else in blue.

As "At Will" employees, the company has the right to change our wages, benefits and working conditions....AT WILL! We have earned the right to negotiate those areas of our employment and have successfully managed to maintain essentially "status quo" losing nothing, costing us nothing. We have already seen the many benefits of having representation thus far and the results of an actual true voice. Ask our brothers and sisters in L.A. how many times Walker has attempted to make unilateral changes to their shop, and those changes ceased. we have filed Unfair Labor Practices that resulted in a settlement between the company and the N.L.R.B. which had conditions reversed, allowing us to leave when we complete our assigned work and also prevented management from assigning additional clean-up work at the end of the runs. Don't forget the meal tickets, and for those of you who talked shit, you took and used the ones you were given, and continue to accept them. None of you have spent a single penny and won't spend a penny unless a majority of us ratifies a contract. Don't sign the petition!

Let's see what the contract looks like before we screw ourselves out of the opportunity of negotiating one. We have never been in a position like this before and we must seize this opportunity to claim some control over our wages, benefits and working conditions.
Don't sign the petition!

The Teamsters are the strongest union in the nation and we can rest assured that they will continue to stand steadfast by our side to see to it that we get a fair collective bargaining agreement. All of us need to do the same.
Don't sign the petition!

As I stated in the previous post, we made great progress in the negotiations reaching agreements in very important areas of our contract. This is very promising going forward and certainly is not the time for them to interfere with the progress and impede the process.
Don't sign the petition!

The question to ask the individuals circulating a de-certification petition for signatures is, Why? What are their reasons for wanting to de-certify our election? I have heard they can't even give an intelligent reason for their actions and they're not going to tell you the truth behind their motives anyway. I acknowledge that they have a right to do this, but are their intentions for the good of everyone in the pressroom, or for their own selfish reasons? It should be totally obvious to everyone (because of who they are) that these individuals don't care about any one in the pressroom and are willing to jeopardize all the hard work that has been done in negotiations for their own benefit.
Don't sign the petition!

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