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Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Take Back the Times: A Bad Pressmen's Union Letter to LAT Advertisers


By Ken Reich

The Los Angeles Times has enough problems under the Tribune Co. ownership without the use of improperly threatening tactics by organized labor against the newspaper.

Yet, sadly, that is what we see this week in the disclosure of a letter from the Bargaining Committee for the Pressmen's union which threatens Times advertisers as a means of putting pressure on Times managers.

The letter, which says the union may ask customers to boycott the advertisers unless it fares better in negotiations with the Times over a contract for its pressmen members, is, I think, contrary to the long range interests not only of the newspaper and its pressmen, but all Times employees.

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We cannot, and must not, forget that a strike of New York newspaper unions against that city's newspapers years ago resulted in the eventual permanent shutdown of several of the New York papers, which was a tragedy.

I certainly feel the Pressmen's union, which is part of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, is entitled to a fair contract, and I would hope that, if the talks are at an impasse, the two sides could reconsider their interests and come to a settlement.

[SNIP]

I feel this is tantamount to a mobster saying: "I don't want to commit murder, but I may be forced to."

This is truly Jimmy Hoffa's Teamsters union. It is contrary to decent conduct, and a direct threat not only to the fortunes of the L.A. Times, but, as I say, the fortunes of all its employees, not to mention the interests of Los Angelenos and all Californians to have a strong, vibrant Los Angeles Times.

Ken's entire article can be read by clicking on the link below.

Take Back the Times: A Bad Pressmen's Union Letter to LAT Advertisers

The letter in question can be viewed here.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yo Ronnie,

Even this lunatic thinks your a dumb@#$!!!

Wolf said...

Need we say more? This man has spoken the truth in its entirety. I, unfortunately am not a journalist nor do I pretend to be one so I will never have the ability to eloquently state what Ken Reich has done in this post. Shame on the union for intentionally destroying the News Paper. I guess when selfish and egocentric people are in control, nothing else matters but what is right in front of them. They don’t care who they run over, and don’t care to know about how everyone else is making half of the salary they are currently making. I wonder if the advertisers who do business with us, know just how much money the pressroom makes? I bet if we opened all the books for most of our advertisers and what they pay their employees we would see that most people in most companies do not make what the pressroom makes. I will take it further, and state that most people that I know, work a 40 Hr week, with no bust out’s, must clean their own equipment after they use it, not hire a company to do it for them. But hey, I don’t know what I‘m talking about, I have never worked in the pressroom. I do know that I have worked for companies that give you NO bust out’s. Make you clean your own area, and if you have to stay over to do it, you will not get OT pay, but only get added time off to your book. Oh yea, and they paid me $8.00 an Hr. Had a 15 break at 10:15am, had a 30 minute lunch from 12:00 to 12:30, and if you were not back in your station BY 12:30 you were docked 15 minutes from your pay. You could not talk to anyone at any time if it meant slowing down. There were supervisors walking around waiting for you to slow down so they can tell you to pick up the pace. I was a repair technician for a lighting company that was based out of City of Industry. This is the real deal when you work for someone other than the Times. This is the reality of today, AND please spare me the “good ol days” as we are not in the good ol day’s.

Anonymous said...

Unions have outlived their usefulness. Once upon a time when sweatshops took horrible advantage of workers, unions were a godsend. Now, it seems, they've become extortionists operating under the guise of representing the majority of workers' views. In reality, they are just legalized bullies.

This is America. We are a capitalist nation, where free enterprise reigns supreme. The LA Times is in business to make money. Employees are well-compensated because the LA Times turns a profit. If the profit is gone, the LA Times won't be operating as a non-profit--it will fold.

The union is playing a dangerous game, and it seems as though the tactics it's using do not represent the voice of the pressmen or be in their best interest. Maybe it's time the union asked the pressmen for some input. With economic times so difficult and well-paying jobs becoming scarce, the union is playing with a very precious commodity--the security of the people they profess to be representing.

Eddo said...

Anon said "Unions have outlived their usefulness." In reality the Bureau of Labor Statistics show the typical union worker's pay and benefits are 33% higher than what non-union workers get.

Wolf. aka "Mr. Pickle Packer" said...

Eddo.

That same web page also states that the AVERAGE WEEKLY HOURS OF PRODUCTION WORKERS for this Country is also 41.2 Hr's a week. This is a much higher than that of our Union Friends in the Pressroom. Let's see more pay, less work. It seems like someone is getting the short end of the stick. I can see why many businesses are going under with these Unions representing the workers. Let’s see, first it was the News Paper industry, as I don’t think that we need to spell out what occurred to many of our great papers here in Los Angeles with other Unions, now we see just how bad it is in the Auto Industry, next will be who? Unions, yea their good for the LAZY.

Anonymous said...

Eddo cites higher pay for those in unions. Union members should get higher pay, just to offset the union dues they're forced to pay whether they agree with what the union does or not. Many unions require mandatory donations to the "charity" of the union's choice with their membership requirements. Add it all up, and the higher union member pay isn't so impressive. I won't even get into the pay of the union leaders...

Eddo said...

Thirty three percent is a lot of money. Unions also have better Health CAre, Sickness and Accident Benefits, Better Pensions, and Better Job Security than non union workers. Take my word for it, or look it up.

Talk abut pay of union leaders, look at the pay of the execs. Willis walked off with 86 mil, Downing walked off with app. 18 mil, and Fitz walked off with a bundle also. Directors at LAT start at 130K+. I am not faulting this, but neither am I faulting the app. $30 hour wage of average pressman. It is the numbskulls who must be jealous or ignorant of the facts. Other's wages are none of your business - read the parable of the workers in the field.

Anonymous said...

Eddo.... Where do you get your facts?

I think you should check them out before you post them!!!! It looks like some are just gossip not reality!

Anonymous said...

Need we say more? This man has spoken the truth in its entirety. I, unfortunately am not a journalist nor do I pretend to be one so I will never have the ability to eloquently state what Ken Reich has done in this post. Shame on the union for intentionally destroying the News Paper.

Like it was the Unions idea to shrink the paper countless times and reduce the newsroom to a mere resemblance of a world class paper.
And it was Unions idea to let Zell buy us with such a heavy debt that the bankers are now calling for furhter cuts.
Yea, it's all because of the Union.