Monday, December 29, 2008

Los Angeles Times Pressmens 20 Year Club: January, 2008 in Retrospect

Ed Padgett provides a look back at this years posts on the 20 year club blog.
Good job Ed.
Click on title or link below.

Los Angeles Times Pressmens 20 Year Club: January, 2008 in Retrospect#links

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The rest period is defined as a "net" ten minutes, which means that the rest period begins when the employee reaches an area away from the work area that is appropriate for rest. Employers are required to provide suitable resting facilities that shall be available for employees during working hours in an area separate from the toilet rooms.
What are the basic requirements for rest periods under California law?
California employees covered by the rest period provisions of the Industrial Welfare Commission Wage Orders must be provided with a net 10-minute paid rest period for every four hours worked or major fraction thereof. Insofar as is practicable, the rest period should be in the middle of the work period. If an employer fails to provide an employee a rest period, the employer shall pay the employee one hour of pay at the employee's regular rate of pay for each workday that the rest period is not provided.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Hoffa Says Tribune Workers Should Come First in Bankruptcy Court

Official Statement of Teamsters General President James P. Hoffa
December 16, 2008
When billionaire Sam Zell took Tribune private in an overleveraged, doomed deal that swiftly brought down the 161-year-old media giant, the risks involved were placed squarely on the shoulders of Tribune workers. Now, as Tribune’s creditors head to bankruptcy court for payback, these workers should go directly to the front of the line.
By transferring 100% ownership of the company and some $13 billion of debt to an S-Corp Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) in the buyout, Zell insulated himself from tax responsibilities and mortgaged the future retirement savings of Tribune employees. Despite owning 100% of the company, employees were given no voice in the governance of the company or in the plan itself. They’ve had no say in the terms of their own debt obligations or decisions related to how best to service that debt.
Tribune contributions to employee retirement savings for employee-owners changed from a defined benefit plan to a defined contribution plan structured as the ESOP. Employees participating in the ESOP can’t diversify their holdings until they reach age 55.
The first of the company’s contributions to the ESOP was expected to happen in the first quarter, but now—with the Tribune mired in Chapter 11 bankruptcy—it’s unclear whether that will happen or whether those shares will have any value.
Not everyone lost on the deal. Tribune executives made millions, including CEO Dennis FitzSimons, who engineered the deal with Zell and raked in $17.7 million in severance and other payments and cashed in his stock for $23.8 million. Shareholders traded in stock rated deep into junk territory for cash representing a 21% premium over the stock price just before the transaction. The banks that lent Tribune the money shared some $47 million in fees. Citigroup and Merrill Lynch who advised Tribune on the deal received $35.8 million and $37 million respectively. And billionaire Zell, who put up only $315 million in the deal, is expected to stand ahead of employees in the creditors’ line at bankruptcy court.
One thing is for sure—the Teamsters will remain vigilant during the bankruptcy process to ensure that our members and all Tribune employee interests are advanced.
The International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents approximately than 1,000 Tribune workers.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Officer Nominations Meeting

Meetings will be held at the Crown Plaza/Commerce Casino Hotel once again. There will be two meeting times for convienience. Those times are 10:00 am to 11:00 am and again at 1:00pm to 2:00pm.

The meetings will be held on January 4, 2009 in the "Diamond Room" See you all there.

In Solidarity.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Quality on Time.

Our Number One Priority is to get a Quality Newspaper on the street, on time or we will all pay the ultimate price. That is why it is important that we understand the language below. We are making every possible effort to work with management to resolve our current issues.

No Strike/No Lockout

Section 3.1. No Strike. (a) During the term of this agreement there shall be no strikes, Sympathy strikes, work stoppages, slowdowns, boycotts, intentional interruption of production, delays or suspension of work of any nature, and no other acts that interfere with the Company’s operations or the production or sale of it’s products or services by the Union, it’s officers, agents or members, or by the employees. During the term of this agreement there shall be no lockout of any employees by the Company.

(b) The Union agrees that it will take every effort possible to discourage, prevent and end any strike or proscribed activity and will inform all employees who participate in such activity that is their individual responsibility.

(c) Any or all employees participating in any such activity proscribed herein shall be subject to disciplinary action, including discharge. In the event that a grievance is filed with respect to activity proscribed herein, the only question before the arbitrator shall be whether the employee engaged in the proscribed activity, s/he shall have no authority to rescind or otherwise modify the discipline imposed by the Employer.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Victor Banuelos on Saveourtrade

I want to welcome Vic and I look forward to his posts. Vic, as I've said before, goes the extra mile for all of us. Vic can now get information directly to our shops via Save Our Trade's blog.

Blog Away Vic!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Local Officer Nominations Meeting

Clear your calenders for Sunday January 4, 2009 (time and place to follow) so you can attend the meeting and nominate the Brothers and Sisters you would like to serve on our New Local's Executive Board.
The positions we will be seeking nominees for are as follows:

1 President- to preside over the local and the executive board.

2 Vice President(s) one from each shop to represent their respective shop and assist the President in operating the Local.

1 Recording Secretary to record minutes of our meetings.

Secretary Treasurer to oversee the funds and resources of our Local

6 Shop Stewards 3 in each shop, 1 on each shift to enforce the contract and assist with member/management issues in the shops and also investigating and filing grievances when necessary.

I encourage everyone to participate in this process, this is democracy in action, be a part of it.

In Solidarity.

We Want Our Lunch Breaks!

I've made the decision to leave the Law in the hands of our Lawyers and I will only post Legal information from our Attorneys.

The Lunch and Rest Periods that have been missed have been brought to the attention of our Representatives and Legal Counsel.

Continue to document missed Lunches and Rest Periods.

Playing For Change: Song Around the World "Stand By Me"

Brother Reney e-mailed this to several of us in the shop and I wanted to share it with everyone because it did give me the chills as the E-mail title stated and I dare anyone to watch it and say it didn't give them the chills too. Everyone needs Someone sometime, who will you be there for? Very inspiring! Thanks Chuck!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Labor,Management Forum Held Yesterday.

Keith Denson and myself met with Russ Newton yesterday to discuss the changes that are being implemented and the way they are being implemented. I received so many phone calls yesterday with complaints of missed breaks, not being able to go to the bathroom, and that no one was allowed to sit down in L.A. for the whole shift. That is punishment and harassment in our eyes and will not be tolerated. Days off in leiu of holidays were being cancelled and the list went on. I had to charge my phone twice yesterday, and it's brand new!

We anticipate answers on these issues today as I expect Russ will discover, we were correct in the interpretation of the law pertaining to to missed lunch and rest periods, All the while the penalties will continue to add up. Several of the other issues in our eyes are valid grievances and we will persue that course of action if necessary. We will not allow ourselves to be punished for exercising our rights to representation and are more than willing to work with management to achieve the goals set for our shop. Russ feels that certain individuals are not accepting this change and are not performing. I assured him that based on conversations I've had with quite a few of our brothers and sisters, there is no problem with us working, that's our job, the manner in which we are being treated is the concern. Production stats showed a decline since Monday and this decline has nothing to do with how we perform but rather the ill prepared transition plans that did not take into account the effect these changes would have on our production routines. We will not accept responsibility for any declines in production as a result of these changes. Answers from our meeting to follow.

The previous post regarding penalties owed to employees when a lunch or rest period is missed was discussed and was supported by the Industrial Labor Posters hanging all over the building. It confirms that the company owes each employee the equivilent of 1 hour straight time pay for missed rest periods. I informed Russ that they already owe alot of presspersons for missed breaks and it will continue to grow if this matter is not corrected immediately. Jay Scott was phoned for clarification and is expected to reply to Russ. Keith, myself and Russ all read the same poster at the same time and I invite all of you to do the same. Forward your names, date and time you missed a break and we will make every effort to recover the penalties owed to each and every pressperson.

Brother Ronnie

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Answers to California Lunch and Rest Breaks

There have been many questions surrounding the lunch and rest breaks and what the actual law is. I had no idea we would have to delve into this because we were never given any indication that Management had any intention in changing how we took our lunches, minus the lenght of time. Considering the fact that they chose to follow the letter of the law, which they should, this article illustrates what they must abide by or pay the penaltys as prescribed in Labor Code section 226.7

On April 16, 2007 the California Supreme Court issued its opinion in
Murphy v. Kenneth Cole Productions. The decision greatly expanded the rights of employees to collect damages for missed meal periods and breaks.

The issue before the Court was whether the “one additional hour of pay” for a missed meal period or break provided for in Labor Code section 226.7 constitutes a wage or premium pay subject to a three-year statute of limitations (Code Civ. Proc., § 338) or a penalty subject to a one-year statute of limitations (Code Civ. Proc., § 340). The Court held that the remedy provided in Labor Code section 226.7 constitutes a wage or premium pay and is governed by a three-year statute of limitations. As a result employees can recover three years of back pay for missed meal periods and breaks instead of only one year.

Under the Labor Code virtually every employee in California is entitled to two paid ten minute breaks in an eight hour workday and a one half hour unpaid, uninterrupted meal period. “An employer may not employ an employee for a work period of more than five hours per day without providing the employee with a meal period of not less than 30 minutes, except that if the total work period per day of the employee is no more than six hours, the meal period may be waived by mutual consent of both the employer and employee.”

And, “If an employer fails to provide an employee a meal period or rest period in accordance with an applicable order of the [IWC], the employer shall pay the employee one additional hour of pay at the employee’s regular rate of compensation for each work day that the meal or rest period is not provided.”

Any one who fails to receive their lunch or rest breaks should notify supervision, also document the event and forward it to any of the committee members until we elect our permanent shop stewards to insure the penalty of 1 hour of straight time wages is paid those missing their breaks.
( Thanks to Brother Victor Banuelos for researching this matter for our members)

Monday, December 08, 2008

Los Angeles Times GCC/IBT Represented Pressroom Employees Ratify CBA 140 YES to 57 NO

Today's historic Pressroom Contract Ratification results came on the heels of another historic announcement in which it was reported that Tribune Corporation, today, filed for Bankruptcy Protection.

When it was first announced in 2006 that the Tribune Corporation was being forced to break up the company or sell it, there was no other choice than to seek whatever protections we could for our shops. Breaking up the company or selling it was not enough to instill fear as to our future and the uncertainty that goes along with it, Tribune in the same year sought to siphon another 200 million dollars from the L.A. Times Operation. It was quickly discovered that Tribune was spending almost that much for a baseball player for their beloved Cubbies . Tribune's executives and their greed has always meant only one thing, CUTS. The wounds that were caused by the closure of our Northridge shop had not yet healed over the fact that we lost another 47 brothers and sisters at that time. We could not sit idle while Tribune was going try to milk their Los Angeles "Cash Cow" again.

The events of 2006 were apparently enough to convince a hand full of individuals known to be opposed to Union Representation to approach Brother Dave Rascon and myself and asked us to launch another organizing drive. We were reluctant to risk everything once again, and to ask other brothers to do the same was not an easy decision to ask them to make, but fortunately for all of us, they had no reservations about taking those risks and our organizing committee was formed.

The Bankruptcy announcement today should be solid evidence that we did the right thing, at the right time. I am proud of everyone in our shops for ratifying our agreement today and want to say that since the day we won our election, we became part of the Teamster brotherhood and we need to embrace unity and build the solidarity necessary to strenghten our position no matter who owns us going forward.

We have a lot of work ahead, and I don't expect management to make it easy, so please be diligent in your performance and do not allow complacency to set in. Always follow all safety protocols and be conscious of your environment. Watch out for one another.

There are numerous people that should, and need to be thanked for their contribution. I will begin by thanking our brothers on the organizing committee starting with David Rascon, who has been fighting for us, and by my side from the day I met him, Dan Beruman, and his contribution during the organizing campaign, Gary Bunch, Richard Ontiveros, Jorge Ayala and Charlie Laird for their perseverance and efforts in organizing our Orange County shop, which historically was anti-union. Great job to all of you brothers for getting us to the table! Much respect and gratitude.

Our negotiation committee was always in total unity and it was my honor to sit at the table with our brothers that were elected to represent us in bargaining, David Rascon, Keith Denson, Chuck Reney, Lance Farrar, Charlie Laird, Kerry McCluskey and Mike Bassett, all of you showed me what true solidarity is and I know that all of you (with the exception of Mike and Kerry who are gone, but will never be forgotton)will continue to display the courage that I witnessed in negotiations and is needed to build a strong, unified local.

There was one individual that needs mention and that person is Victor Banuelos, Vic was always ready and willing to do whatever was necessary without hesitation and his contribution was beyond commendable. Thanks for the commitment Brother Vic, I wish everyone learns to go the extra mile as you always have.

Ed Padgett can be thanked for his blog and the avenue it provided in getting the message out and the forum to express one's opinions. Brother Berry Tillage I want to personally thank you for being my extended conscious and keeping me grounded firmly so that I could serve our bargaining unit with integrity and humility.

Sincere appreciation is not enough to thank our Union Officials beginning with GCC/IBT President/ Teamster Vice President, George Tedeschi, for having the faith in us to give us one more opportunity to finally get it right, we are all deeply indebted to you Sir. Secondly, GCC/IBT Secretary Treasurer, Robert Lacey, our thanks for devoting the resources necessary to achieve success, I know you went through quite a few pens signing checks for our campaigns.

Next, our International Representatives, beginning with Mike Huggins, I have the utmost respect for the work he does traversing this country to represent the working men and women in our trade, especially during these tough times. I will always be grateful for all that you have taught me during these negotiations, and look forward to having you represent other L.A. Times employees who may seek a CBA for their departments.
International Representative Sonny Shannon, who was originally assigned to our negotiations by President Tedeschi, was tenacious enough to beat throat cancer, and come on board midway through negotiations, a true pressman who will do anything for another pressman, Thanks for everything you've done for us at the table and everything you will be doing to help us get our local up and running successfully.

Lead Organizer Marty Keegan and I have known each other for almost ten years and he is the best at what he does, Marty knows how much he means to this bargaining unit, and visa versa, I've thanked you Marty, more times than I can remember for all that you have taught me over the years, apparently some of it did stick. This has been an amazing journey my long time brother, we've finally reached our destination. Finally, Organizer, Jorge (George) Perez, Muchas Gracias por todo hermano! Tu Saves!

During our Organizing drive, Attorney Ira (Buddy) Gottlieb filed several ULP's on the bargaining unit's behalf in which settlements were reached between the NLRB and the company that resulted in resolution to our charges. During the negotiations, Attorney's Adam Stern and Dave Meyers supplied the legal muscle we needed when things got rough. Thanks you gentlemen, I'm sure we will work together again in the future when things get rough again, which it most likely will.

Lest we forget the contribution and solidarity we received from our brothers and sisters on Long Island at NewsDay. You are no longer part of the Tribune family (lucky all of you) but every one of you will always remain part of the Los Angeles Times pressroom family. We can learn plenty from your Local 406's example and will strive for the unity that was bestowed upon our shop from yours. Thank you President Grabhorn for everything you and your Local has done for us, we are deeply grateful. Special thanks to Business Agent Mike Laspina and Chapel Chairman, Lou Nicosia for coming to Los Angeles during our organizing campaign to teach us what working under a union contract really means. We could sure use your help setting up our Local!

Our Thanks to President Doug Brown, the executive board and all of the members of Local 404 in Monrovia. Local 404 has for over a decade been there for our members when we needed them and our relationship with Local 404 will only serve to strengthen both of our locals and enable us to become a stronger voice for our trade and our members here on the west coast.

None of the people I just thanked would have been able to do what they've done for all of us here at the Los Angeles Times if it were not for ALL of the GCC/IBT Brothers and Sisters across the country, who through their dues, made the resources available for us to complete our mission.There are no words that can be found to express our gratitude, we could never have done it without every single one of you and your generosity. We are honored to be your Teamster brothers and sisters.

Next step to be announced soon.

In Solidarity!
Ronnie Pineda

Saturday, December 06, 2008

As Requested!

2008 LAT CBA Just Click on (ipaper) below for printing and download options. You can also view it full screen by clicking the icon on the top right corner of the toolbar. Your final option is to click on the link above to view the document on the Scribd website. Sorry for the delay, the site was still in maintenance mode as of 1:00 am so I chose this site instead of waiting any longer. Write all of your questions down, there obviously will be a question and answer period after the presentation. The Negotiation Committee and our Representatives asks that you wait until then to present your questions, Thank you.
In Solidarity.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Advance Copy of Contract

I hope everyone had a memorable Thanksgiving. Christmas will be here before we know it! Some of you are aware that I have been absent from the shop due to a shoulder injury. My inability to use my left arm and the Holiday weekend took me out of action briefly, but not completely. After reading your many e-mails and taking your phone calls, I have forwarded the bargaining unit's request for advance copies of the contract to our Representative Sonny Shannon and asked for a digital copy to post online.

Sonny has agreed and said that advance copies can be, and will be made available as early as Saturday December, 6,2008. Sonny apologizes and said he will explain why they could not be made available any sooner and asks that everyone please be patient. He also said that this is how he normally conducts the ratification process and does not want anyone to jump to any conclusions.

The negotiation committee asks for your understanding as well, numerous sacrafices were made to get to this point and the committee has always had, and will continue to have, the bargaining unit's interests in mind throughout this process. We also ask for your patience, everyone will have access to a copy of the contract prior to the meeting.

Meeting information is now posted in the shops.

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