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

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