Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Media titans News Corp. and Time Warner Cable in fee fight

If you're watching Fox on New Year's Eve, your television screen might go black at midnight. Media reporter Joe Flint explains why. Read more at

Wednesday Afternoon in the Blogosphere

Mike Brierley, Executive Board Member GCC/IBT Local 140-N at the Los Angeles Times

On This Overcast Day....

Thought For Today 12-30-2009

Self-respect is the fruit of discipline; the sense of dignity grows with the ability to say no to oneself.

Abraham Joshua Heschel

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Memorial Service for Gene Brame

From the Olympic Pressroom Office:

We all extend our heartfelt sympathy and condolences to the family of Gene Brame who passed away December 26, 2009, he will be missed. In speaking with Mrs. Brame there will be Memorial Services for Celebration of Gene’s Life, at Bethlehem Lutheran Church.

Memorial Services held:

Saturday, January 2, 2010 – 2:00 PM
Bethlehem Lutheran Church <--CLICK for MAP
27265 Luther Drive
Canyon Country, CA. 91351

If you would like to send a message of condolence to the family contact me for their address.

h/t Jesse Espinoza

Thought For Today 12-29-2009

It is in deep solitude that I find the gentleness with which I can truly love my brothers. The more solitary I am the more affection I have for them…. Solitude and silence teach me to love my brothers for what they are, not for what they say.

Thomas Merton

TV rabbit ears

Go find those rabbit ears. David Sarno shows how to get television programs using the old-fashioned antennas and your current TV set. Read complete article here: Rabbit ears make comeback in digital TV era

Monday, December 28, 2009

Chicago Tribune Readership Grows

CHICAGO, Dec. 22 /PRNewswire/ -- The Chicago Tribune posted year-over-year readership increases according to the most recent Scarborough data, the largest increase in a decade.

Data for the 6 month period ending in August for the Chicago DMA shows a 4 percent increase in the percentage of people who read the paper in the past week compared to the prior 6-month period. Forty-two percent of the DMA read Chicago Tribune in the past week. This is the second consecutive period of readership increases for Chicago Tribune.

In addition, Scarborough results show an increase in engagement as readers are spending more time with the paper and reading it more often.

"Readership hasn't been at this level since February 2007. In fact, this is the first time in a decade we have seen readership increases of this magnitude. Our commitment to creating unique, differentiated content has paid dividends," said Tony Hunter, President and CEO. "These increases in readership and engagement are driving results for advertisers."

With this increase, the Tribune continues to widen the readership gap over the Sun-Times from 6 percentage points for the 6-month period ending February 2008 to nearly 15 percentage points today.

"Our readership trends confirm that we cover this market better than anyone else. We will continue to provide compelling solutions for consumers and advertisers, online and in print," said Hunter.

About Chicago Tribune Media Group

Chicago Tribune Media Group publishes the Pulitzer Prize-winning Chicago Tribune as well as related print and interactive media serving Chicagoland like RedEye, Hoy, Triblocal, Chicago Magazine, Chicago Home + Garden, and

SOURCE Chicago Tribune

Thought For Today 12-28-2009

One of the hardest things in life is having words in your heart that you can't utter.

James Earl Jones

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Los Angeles Times Olympic Facility 1998

Pressman Al Albanes converted the following three videos from the VHS format to digital for our viewing pleasure, thank you Al.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Gene Brame Rest in Peace

Los Angeles Times Pressroom Crew Foreman Gene Brame passed away at 1:00 a.m. this morning.

Funeral services are pending at this time.

Thought For Today 12-26-2009

Think of giving not as a duty but as a privilege.

John D. Rockefeller, Jr.

Christmas Wishes and Making Them Come True!

By Ronnie Pineda

Merry Christmas to the Men and Women of GCC/IBT Local 140-N and your families, wishing that your holidays are safe and memorable.

Christmas is a time of giving and when one of our own was in need, many of you dug deep and gave without hesitation. I am never amazed to witness the generosity displayed by the men and women in our shops when finding out that a fellow pressperson is need.

Between the L.A. and O.C. shops, $645.00 was raised in two days for our brother and his family. Our brother expressed his most sincere appreciation and gratitude when given this Christmas blessing. I was literally choked up, along with several other brothers when placing your generous Christmas gift in his hand. This made Christmas extra special for me and I will always remember this occassion that was made possible by all of you, thank you!

You will all be blessed 10 fold for your compassion and Christmas Spirit. I am very proud to be a member of this brotherhood and honor all of you for caring about one another and by showing it in ways that are beyond compare.

Special thanks to James Abel, Maria Ramirez, Linard Williams, Chuck Reney, Paula Henley, David Martinez, Randy Lind, David Rascon, Charles Laird, Keith Denson, Ye Lung Fu, Ed Padgett, Darren Paugh, Richard Ontiveros and everyone else that contributed during these difficult times.

Anyone still wishing to contribute can do so until December 31st. Keith Denson and Chuck Reney will gladly accept your offering and forward your gift. Thank you in advance.

(We lost track of everyone that contributed because the cash came pouring in on the 24th and we wanted to deliver your gift on Christmas Eve. I apologize for not being able to post the names of all the contributors and give them the proper recognition that they deserve.)

Brother Ronnie Pineda

Christmas Wishes and Making Them Come True!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

My Visit to the Orange County LA Times Facility (Day 2)

My second of three days at the Los Angeles Times Costa Mesa Production Facility was filled with laughter, in-between producing Friday’s newspaper. But don’t let anyone know as we’re supposed to be miserable while working at the newspaper.

Sensing I was homesick for the Times Olympic Facility, Mike Gonzales (in the middle) and Chuck Reney attempted to make me feel at home with their gestures. I have to admit, it worked!

I was amazed at the number of newspapers produced on the second shift at the Orange County Facility on Thursday’s, much higher than anticipated.

Will spend Christmas with my colleagues in Costa Mesa tomorrow and capture a few more memories with my digital camera.

Here’s an additional forty photos from my adventure this afternoon.

My Visit to the Orange County LA Times Facility

I’m off to Costa Mesa as I’m working at the Los Angeles Times Orange County Production Facility three days this week. After spending the past thirty-seven years in the pressroom in downtown Los Angeles, it’s so refreshing to work in a different environment.

The drive to Costa Mesa is but five additional miles, and yesterday I spent forty-five minutes commuting to the plant, arriving over an hour early as we never know what to expect with the freeway system.

The pressmen and supervisors were extremely helpful as I am out of my comfort zone, and the methods are the same for printing the newspaper, yet a bit different.

I have posted sixty photographs, with many more to come the next two days.

View pictures here on Flickr

Palm Beach Post RIP 12/20/2008

Former Palm Beach Post photographer Ken Steinhoff has written a nice piece on the one year anniversary of the outsourcing of the newspaper to the Sun-Sentinel. Naturally the story is filled with many photographs from the operations departments.

I’m certain my colleagues will enjoy the article and the pictures.

A Look Back at The Post’s Production Department

LA Press Club Urges Passage of a Federal Shield Law

Hollywood, CA. The Board of the Los Angeles Press Club endorses the Senate Judiciary Committee's bill to establish a qualified privilege for journalists to protect their confidential sources and the public's right to know.

The Free Flow of Information Act, S. 448, was voted out of committee earlier this month by a bi-partisan 14-5 vote.

The current version of this "Federal Shield Law" may not give reporters all the protection they need, but it's an important step in the right direction.

The bill would extend its protection to include bloggers, freelancers and any other person involved in disseminating news and information. All reporters' telephone records and email used in gathering the news are also protected. However, national security can still be invoked by the government to demand a reporter's sources.

"After years of debate and countless cases of reporters being held in contempt, fined and even jailed for honoring their professional commitment not to publicly reveal their sources, the time has come to enact a balanced federal shield law," said committee chairman, Patrick Leahy, (D-Vt).

The Press Club urges Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer to assist in bringing this bill before the full Senate for a successful vote as soon as possible.

Thursday Morning in the Blogosphere

Linard Williams, Treasurer GCC/IBT Local 140-N at the Los Angeles Times

Correction of Errors

I was led to believe John Garay would return to the pressroom as part time foremen, this turned out to be false, he has returned as a part time pressman.

The Orange County Los Angeles Times Facility has two plate setters, not one as previously reported.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Support Truthdig

Drilling beneath the headlines DAILY.

Dear Truthdig Reader,

It's great when our readers make our pitch. Commenting online about a recent batch of awards we won, two readers said of Truthdig:
"The best online forum around, and an absolutely essential media source. It takes a lot of work and courage to be Truthdig.”

“Now, if only TD had CNN's or MSNBC's budget! To pay more, and then – more importantly – to reach more. We might then move forward.”

We couldn't have said it better. We don't need to be CNN or MSNBC, but with support from you we could provide a lot more of the progressive commentary, news, insights, interviews, criticism, reviews and cartoons you like.

Help move Truthdig forward in 2010 by making a gift right now, right here, online or by check.

While Truthdig is a serious and worthy cause, it's also a sheer intellectual pleasure. Where else do you get to curl up with Chris Hedges' extraordinary columns – fascism to food politics, the opium trade to environmental ignorance to linguistic war and cultural degradation – always cutting to the heart of the matter? Who else brings you Robert Scheer's persistent bird-dogging of the follies of the Wall Street bailout? Where else but Truthdig do you hear why Rep. Dennis Kucinich voted “no” on health care reform – and get his insider's view of the darker side of this debate? What other publication has dared to compare female genital cutting in Africa (as we did in an article by our Africa correspondent) to the cosmetic plastic surgery on genitals in the U.S. and other Western nations?

You won't find material of this kind in the newspapers or magazines or on the cable or satellite services you regularly have to pay for. Isn't Truthdig worth at least as much?

We ask you, at the end of a year filled with good digging by Truthdig, to help us continue our work. We pay our writers, photographers and editors – not a common practice in the online world – and also provide professional copy editing and legal vetting because you deserve quality work.

Please give as generously as you can. We'll do the same.

Zuade Kaufman, Publisher
Robert Scheer, Editor in Chief
and the Truthdig Team

P.S. For those who would like a tax-deductible giving option for larger gifts: We have one! Truthdig is launching a nonprofit venture – an exciting new site focusing on arts and culture. Click here to learn about becoming a founding supporter.

Keep on digging!

Top 10 Things Killed by the Internet

Thought For Today 12-23-2009

The only person who never makes mistakes is the person who never does anything.

Denis Waitley

Productivity rises as workers do more with less --

Productivity rises as workers do more with less --

Employee output per hour rises 8.1% in the third quarter, the largest gain since 2003. But with people working harder in hopes of keeping their jobs, employers have less incentive to hire again.

Posted using ShareThis

Wednesday Morning in the Blogosphere

Keith Denson (left) vice-president GCC/IBT at the Los Angeles Times with Fred Kirby

Remembering the newspaper carrier --

Remembering the newspaper carrier --

Each night for 25 years my dad drove the streets of this city with more than 300 newspapers packed in his car. While most people slept, he delivered papers in housing projects and to homes in areas of the city some would be nervous to visit.

These days my dad, Simeon Stewart, is an alumnus of a fading fraternity: the home newspaper carrier. Technically he never worked for the Los Angeles Times; he worked all those years for Mr. Norman Wilson Sr., who held a contract to deliver The Times in South Los Angeles and had a crew of men to do it. Like my dad, most of them were African Americans with wives and families and mortgages. The paper route was a second job that helped make ends meet.

Entire article can be read at

Posted using ShareThis

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

U.S. Chamber of Commerce Elected 2009's National Scrooge of the Year

The Chamber's narrow, radical agenda advocating for anti-worker, profit-focused solutions to the broken health care, labor, and environmental systems garnered them the most votes for the national Jobs with Justice "Scrooge of the Year" award.

Thousands of votes were cast in the Jobs with Justice annual contest to determine which greedy, cold-hearted organization or person deserves the title "Scrooge of the Year." Voters chose the Chamber of Commerce as their winner this year as it's became increasingly clear that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has developed into a front group for a few narrow interests, not a membership association that represents the voice of mainstream American businesses. The Chamber has spent millions of dollars lobbying against legislation that would benefit workers and families like the Employee Free Choice Act, health insurance reform, paid sick days, and environmental regulations. Their extreme positions have led some companies and local chapters of the Chamber to disaffiliate from the national group.

This year's Scrooge contest pitted the Chamber of Commerce against Bank of America, nominated for their role in the sub-prime lending crisis and failure to extend credit to small businesses, Hyatt Hotels for their Scrooge-like firing of 100 housekeepers in Boston and other anti-worker actions, Publix Supermarkets for their resisting the call to be part of the solution to human rights violations in Florida fields by continuing to buy tomatoes from growers prosecuted for modern-day slavery, and student loan lenders Sallie Mae and Citibank for their expensive, variable rate loans for students. An impressive write-in campaign was also waged for United Airlines, for their slashing of workers' wages and pensions while continuing to award lavish bonuses to top executives.

"There was plenty of competition for the award this year," said Jobs with Justice Executive Director Sarita Gupta, "but the similarities between Scrooge and the Chamber of Commerce were hard to beat. The ghost of years past would show that the policies they've promoted including deregulation and maximizing profits at the expense of workers are directly connected to the destruction of America's middle class."

Throughout the country, many people remain unemployed and more are working harder and longer than ever before to make ends meet, as highlighted in our recently released report examining the impact of the economic crisis on working people.

Over the holidays and in the coming weeks, Jobs with Justice will begin a campaign to engage working people in the fight for the creation of a national jobs program.

"We fully expect the Chamber of Commerce to come out in opposition to our demand for good paying and family sustaining jobs," said Gupta, "but we will not cede this moment nor shy away from this fight. The ghost of future years will show that in this time of crisis, it was our efforts that helped put people back to work."

SOURCE: Save Our Trade

eReaders review

Video review of popular eReaders by Los Angeles Times' David Sarno and Michelle Maltais. See the story at: See details on 16 devices at:

Thought For Today 12-22-2009

The right to be heard does not automatically include the right to be taken seriously.

Hubert Humphrey

Tuesday Morning in the Blogosphere

Ronnie Pineda, President of GCC/IBT Local 140-N at the Los Angeles Times

Part Time Foreman in the House

As the newspaper seeks any and all methods of reducing costs we will see a first at the Los Angeles Times, a part time pressroom supervisor.

John Garay, whom took a buyout in June, 2007 will be returning to the Olympic Pressroom tomorrow as a part time foreman.

Gene Brame Update

Nine days ago (Dec. 13th) Gene was taken off life support, and as of last Saturday he was breathing on his own. Gene will be moved to a hospice shortly.

Gene has not regained consciousness since his massive heart attack on Thanksgiving night while driving to the newspaper.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Thought For Today 12-21-2009

I never believed in Santa Claus because I knew no white man would be coming into my neighborhood after dark.

Dick Gregory

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Chicago Bliss Lingerie Football team on WGN Morning News

WGN Morning News' Pat Tomasulo is many things, but today he was a pretty lucky guy, hosting the Chicago Bliss Lingerie Football team as guests on WGN.

Update: The Hubs Scheduled To Drop In, The Best Surgeon's Mug Ever

Read it here:

The Kitchen Dispatch

Sam Zell Must Face Tribune Employees’ Lawsuit Over Pension Plan

By Andrew M. Harris

Dec. 19 (Bloomberg) -- Sam Zell, the real estate investor who took the Chicago-based Tribune Co. private in an $8.3 billion stock buyback two years ago, must face an employee lawsuit claiming he knowingly violated federal pension laws.


As many as 10,000 workers may have lost money as a result of how the shareholder buyout was executed, said Daniel Feinberg, an attorney for the employees in Oakland, California. While only six workers are named as plaintiffs in the suit, he said he will seek class-action certification to sue on behalf of other employees.


The case is Neil v. Zell, 08cv6833, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois (Chicago).

Complete article can be read at Bloomberg

Thought For Today 12-19-2009

The trick is in what one emphasizes. We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves happy. The amount of work is the same.

Carlos Casteneda

Friday, December 18, 2009

Friday Night in the Blogosphere

Doug Davis Wishing Sam Zell Good Luck with his Purchase of the Tribune Company
DATE: September, 2007

Thought For Today 12-18-2009

Education is when you read the fine print. Experience is what you get if you don't.

Pete Seeger

Audi e-tron concept electric car

Los Angeles Times automotive critic, Dan Neil, takes a drive in the plug-in electric Audi e-tron concept car that seems ready for production. Read more at Video by Jeff Amlotte / Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles Times: Unknown

Los Angeles Times: Unknown

An unknown number of employees have been laid off. LA Observed has confirmed 7 employees so far.

Posted using ShareThis

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Thursday Night in the Blogosphere

Marketta Owens with LAT Pressman Martin Alvarez

LAT staffers' suit versus Zell still on - LA Observed

LAT staffers' suit versus Zell still on - LA Observed

Posted using ShareThis

Thought For Today 12-17-2009

The paradoxical -- and tragic -- situation of man is that his conscience is weakest when he needs it most.

Erich Fromm

Christmas in the City

FYI-Pass it on if you know of anyone in need of a bike. Thank you.

If you or you know someone that may be interested in this and will be in the area.
Maybe you can benefit or know someone who could :) Merry Christmas :D

Just confirmed, the give-a-way starts @ 10:00 a.m.
On Sunday, December 20, 2009 (This Coming Sunday)

The Dream Center is giving away 8000 bikes to kids at the Los Angeles Sports Arena. For more information, log onto:

The Los Angeles Sports Arena is located at:
3939 South Figueroa Street, Los Angeles , CA 90037

*** Bikes will be issued on a First-come, First-Served basis.
*** Only children 4 thru 11 years of age are eligible to
receive the bikes and must be accompanied by an adult.

Dave McCoy, founder of Mammoth Mountain ski area

Dave McCoy, 94, founded Mammoth Mountain ski area in the Eastern Sierra. He sold the resort in 2005 and found a new passion in photography when friends gave him a digital camera as a retirement gift. He wants to archive his photos as a recent record of the region. (Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Wednesday Night in the Blogosphere

Pressroom Rollerman Phillip Mulligan taking a quick break

"It's a Wonderful Job"

The Pioneer Press newsroom in 'It's a Wonderful Job'
By David Brauer | Published Mon, Dec 14 2009 6:00 am

For reasons known only to themselves, Pioneer Press newsroom staffers have decided to share video of their Christmas Party — well, the skit part anyway.

"It's a Wonderful Job" was penned by editorial writer and "Almanac" monologuist Jim Ragsdale and features Fred Melo (narrator); Ragsdale, Emily Gurnon and Chris Snowbeck sharing James Stewart duties; and Bob Shaw as a particularly terrifying Clarence.

Mr. Potter remains off-screen; he could be MediaNews Group CEO Dean Singleton, or public-radio (note pointed "porn" reference in script, below), or maybe anyone who doesn't help pay for the news, including, ahem, bloviators.

Just like its predecessor, "Wonderful Job" is sappy, but it's the Christmas season, so lighten up and recognize these folks still care about what they do, still bleed printer's ink, and still want to make St. Potterville a better place. After a tough year of pay cuts and layoffs, a generous laugh and a back pat is very much in order.

"It's a Wonderful Job" from Ben Garvin on Vimeo.

Thought For Today 12-16-2009

Common sense is the knack of seeing things as they are, and doing things as they ought to be done.

Harriet Beecher Stowe

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A Day Of Protest, Military Blogs Go Silent


The following was written by Troy Steward of Bouhammer.
Notes in italics are by me. I hope the news community will pick this up. Anyone who writes for a living should look into this situation. Thank you, Kanani.

On Wednesday 16 December 2009, many milblogs are going silent for the day. Some are choosing to go silent for a longer period of time. In addition, I will not be on Facebook or Twitter on either Wednesday or Thursday.

The reason for this is two-fold. First, milblogs are facing an increasingly hostile environment from within the military. While senior leadership has embraced blogging and social media, many field grade officers and senior NCOs do not embrace the concept. From general apathy in not wanting to deal with the issue to outright hostility to it, many commands are not only failing to support such activities, but are aggressively acting against active duty milbloggers, milspouses, and others. The number of such incidents appears to be growing, with milbloggers receiving reprimands, verbal and written, not only for their activities but those of spouses and supporters.

The catalyst has been the treatment of milblogger C.J. Grisham of A Soldier’s Perspective ( C.J. has earned accolades and respect, from the White House on down for his honest, and sometimes blunt, discussion of issues — particularly PTSD. In the last few months, C.J. has seen an issue with a local school taken to his command who failed to back him, and has even seen his effort to deal with PTSD, and lead his men in same by example, used against him as a part of this. Ultimately, C.J. has had to sell his blog to help raise funds for his defense in this matter.

(Note: Last week, I reported on the Los Angeles Times Pressmen's blog about C.J.'s situation in an article called "Time To Slay The Behemoth.")
While there have been new developments, the core problem remains, and C.J. is having to raise funds to cover legal expenses to protect both his good name and his career.

One need only look at the number of blogs by active duty military in combat zones and compare it to just a few years ago to see the chilling effect that is taking place.

Milblogs have been a vital link in getting accurate news and information about the military, and military operations, to the public. They have provided vital context and analysis on issues critical to operations and to the informed electorate critical to the Republic.

On Wednesday 16 December, readers will have the chance to imagine a world without milblogs, and to do something about it. Those participating are urging their readers to contact their elected representatives in Congress, and to let their opinions be known to them and to other leaders in Washington.

Some milblogs will remain silent for several days; some just for the day. All have agreed to keep the post about the silence and C.J. at the top of their blogs until Friday 18 December.

The issues go beyond C.J., and deserve careful consideration and discussion. We hope that you will cover this event, and explore the issues that lie at the heart of the matter. Contact the milbloggers in your area or that you know, and hear the story that lies within.

Monies are being raised for C.J.'s legal defense fund.

Grisham Legal Fund
c/o Redstone Federal Credit Union
220 Wynn Drive
Huntsville, AL 35893
Please write “Grisham Legal Fund” in the memo line if you use this option. Milblogs have been a vital link in getting accurate news and information about the military, and military operations, to you. Today, many milblogs are gone and others are under attack from within and without. Today, you have the chance to imagine a world without milblogs, and to do something about it. Make your voice heard by writing your congressional representatives and others, and by making donations as you see fit.The battle for freedom of speech and the marketplace of ideas is fought on many fronts and in many ways. Without your help, the battle may well be lost.

A partial list of participating blogs may be found at Bouhammer.

A partial list of participating military blogs may be found at Bouhammer.

Arbitrator upholds NYT newsroom staffers' seniority rights

Press release
December 14, 2009

Guild upheld on seniority rights in ruling on Newsroom layoffs

An arbitrator on Monday upheld Times' Newroom employees' seniority rights, added an annual week of severance pay for employees properly laid off in inverse order of seniority and sped up the challenge process for those laid off out of seniority in a ruling that resolved in the Guild’s favor most aspects of a multi-faceted dispute over job security.

The binding decision by Arbitrator Martin Scheinman, issued a day before Times management targets approximately 26 Newsroom employees for layoff, provides fresh clarity to a process that had been clouded by disputes since last year's Newsroom layoffs.

After accepting the buyout applications of 74 News-side employees (60 Guild and 14 non-Guild) last week, Times management is expected on Tuesday to target additional Newsroom employees for involuntary layoffs to reach its goal of 100 job cuts. The numbers might change if people change their minds and revoke their buyout application.

The arbitrator's ruling sustained the Guild's view that seniority used to determine Newsroom employees' vulnerability to layoffs must be measured by their service in the entire News Department. In last year's round of job cuts, management had taken the position that seniority gets reset to zero each time an employee moves to a new desk.

Under the ruling, employees laid off in inverse order of seniority will receive three weeks per year of severance pay, instead of two weeks, the same rate as employees who are involuntarily laid off out of order, and will have to sign a release, as they currently do. Employees with the least amount of seniority are generally most vulnerable to layoffs, but management can pass over more senior employees if it determines that a less senior employee's qualifications are "superior."

Employees laid off out of seniority order who do not challenge their dismissals may receive their severance payments in a lump sum or in monthly installments, in exchange for signing a separation agreement and general release, Scheinman ruled.

Those who challenge their out-of-seniority layoffs will have their cases decided by Scheinman within 30 days of the Guild’s demand for a hearing, during which time they will receive no severance pay. If they prevail, they will be reinstated. If not, they may receive their severance pay only in monthly installments, in exchange for signing a separation agreement and general release.

The issue of whether the release negated rehire rights had been in dispute, and has now been resolved by the arbitrator in the following manner.

If The Times hires more than two employees in a classification from which Newsroom employees were laid off within the past 12 months, the Guild may challenge the layoff "as having been not in good faith, not bona fide, or a subterfuge," Scheinman said.

“In the arbitration, the Guild would have to demonstrate hiring individuals rather than rehiring employees involuntarily terminated within the preceding 12 months was unreasonable,” he said. “The Times would have the responsibility to explain why it did not instead rehire employees involuntarily terminated within the preceding 12 months.”

If the Guild prevails in such a challenge, Scheinman said The Times would have to offer to rehire involuntarily a laid-off employee, even if they signed a general release.

"We are pleased that the arbitrator has upheld the most important aspects of our position," said New York Guild president Bill O’Meara. "We also now have clarity on how layoffs are to be conducted and will have a swifter way of resolving future layoff disputes, which is of great benefit to Guild members,” he added.

Guild offers plan to avert loss of News Service jobs Responding to a management proposal to subcontract the News Service, the Guild last week offered a comprehensive package of cost savings aimed at keeping the operation and its 28 Guild-represented jobs in New York. Talks are continuing.

As reported, Times management notified the Guild a few weeks ago that it intends to subcontract the News Service to a Times Company-owned entity in Gainesville, Florida.

Workers there would be hired at about half the current rate of pay in effect here. That notification triggered a 60-day period during which the Guild can attempt to convince management not to go forward with its plans. The Guild proposal would cut costs by about 31 percent, saving the company nearly $900,000 a year.

SOURCE: Poynter Online

Tuesday Night in the Blogosphere

LAT Plate Maker Tim Russell, son of former pressman Bob Russell

Thought For Today 12-15-2009

When you come to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.

Franklin D. Roosevelt

Monday, December 14, 2009

Tribune Broadcasting Names Jerry Kersting Chief Operating Officer

CHICAGO, December 14, 2009 -- Tribune Broadcasting today announced the appointment of Jerry Kersting as its Chief Operating Officer, effective immediately. Kersting, who joined Tribune Company as Executive Vice President in April 2008, will work closely with Tribune Broadcasting President Ed Wilson overseeing the day-to-day operations of the company’s 23 television stations, its national cable channel, WGN America, and WGN Radio.

"The past year has allowed me the opportunity to work together with Jerry on the restructuring of our stations," said Wilson. "This new role will allow us to build our stations into local market leaders through expanded news content, more vibrant internet sites, and by growing revenue as we continue developing unique solutions for our advertisers. I couldn’t be more excited about the future of our media businesses and look forward to partnering with Jerry to insure our continued success."

The move enables Wilson, who has overseen broadcasting since early 2008 and was named Tribune’s Chief Revenue Officer later that year, to focus even more time and attention on his responsibilities to drive revenue and generate sales across the company.

"Ed has given me a great platform from which to move forward," said Kersting. "We’ll continue to aggressively expand our news offerings and look for ways to build more local programming. At WGN America, we’ve obtained some top-notch programs which begin debuting next fall, so we’re confident we will build audience share. I’m very optimistic about where we’re going."

As Executive Vice President, Kersting had been responsible for identifying strategic opportunities and efficiencies for the company’s various media businesses. Prior to joining Tribune, Kersting served as Chief Financial Officer for the radio division of Clear Channel Communications.

Monday Afternoon in the Blogosphere

Ed Young retires from the LA Times with Sean Greer at the right

In Kandhar: Two American Women Entrepreneurs

"JArghand Siteennie Green and Sarah Chayes are determined sisters. Instead of living a contented life in the afterglow of the Ivy Leagues, they became entrepreneurs amid the chaos and violence of Kandahar."

Read the rest at:
The Kitchen Dispatch

Rumors, Questions and No Answers!

By Ronnie Pineda

It seems The Blogging Pressman, AKA, Ed Padgett, has alot of people wondering what is really going to happen at the Orange County Facility in the quickly approaching future. It has been rumored that the O.C. plant would close for quite some time now, to which management always denies any plans to do so at the time, when asked.

Anyone still having in their possesion, the DVD management mailed to our homes during our organizing campaign, can view former Publisher David Hiller attempting to reassure employees that O.C. was to remain in operation. Was this statement the truth or an attempt to influence pressroom union voters? I seem to remember former SVP of Operations, Mark Kurtich making the same comment to Northridge employees prior to the closing of their facility. Arrive at your own conclusion.

I can tell you based on personal conversations Exec. Vice President Keith Denson and I have had with Newton, Walker and Bugarin, that they claim to have no knowledge of any new products coming to Orange County. I specifically asked about the Orange County Register and was told by Russ, "that door is closed". Russ also stated that the owners of the O.C. Register would never have their paper printed by "UNION" workers! I proceeded to inquire about possibly printing The San Diego Union Tribune, and his response was, " I can't talk about that"

Any plans that the company may be preparing to implement will not be divulged to the workforce and we should not expect management to consider our interests in any current plans they may be considering at this time as history has proven time and time again.

Management is coninually looking for ways to increase savings and profits and they ultimately result in job losses, so if O.C does indeed close, it is quite likely that jobs will be slated for cuts in the closure plans. Whatever management plans are, if their actions violate our members rights under the Law and/or our Collective Bargaining Agreement, the Union will defend those rights.

According to our election certification from the N.L.R.B. any work printed in the L.A. and O.C. facilites fall under our jurisdiction, as we represent those employed by the L.A. Times at these facilities. Any arrangements to sell the O.C. Facility and enter into agreements with another entity to print products currently being printed by L.A. Times Presspersons, (as well as products that mgt.may currently be in negotiations to print at these locations), and not have our members print these products, would be done intentionally to undermine the contract we have with the company.

We must always be prepared and diligent when it comes to defending our rights under the contract and always remember that management is not interested in how their decisions affect you or your families, so if there is any truth to these rumors, I know what I'm going to do, what are you going to do? Get involved or accept managements decisions because they've always known what is best for you and you family........right?

Ronnie Pineda
GCC/IBT Local 140-N

SOURCE: Save Our Trade

Thought For Today 12-14-2009

I can think of nothing less pleasurable than a life devoted to pleasure.

John D. Rockefeller

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Thought For Today 12-13-2009

Life's too short to wake up in the morning with regrets, so...Love the people who treat you right. Pray for the ones who don't.

After a Child Dies

When a child dies, a family experiences disbelief and the raw emotions of grief. How do they cope? Family members who have experienced this loss firsthand share thoughts and insights of the grief journey, how the child’s death has affected their lives, and how finding support from The Compassionate Friends has helped them to survive.

h/t Sandy Banks

Changes Coming to the Los Angeles Times?

My post regarding my visit to the Los Angeles Times Orange County Production Facility before it closes next year created much ado from the staff at the newspaper at all three Times properties Saturday.

Several employees of the newspaper said they assumed the Los Angeles Times would be producing other newspapers such as the Orange County Register, San Diego Union Tribune, and the San Gabriel Valley Tribune newspapers. Unfortunately the additional work has not materialized.

As with most posts on this blog we have believers and non-believers.

Old OC wrote:

Would you published, on your blog, the company memo that says the OC Plant will be shut down next year? I think I missed it.

Dear Old OC, Would you share the memo regarding the closure of the Times Chatsworth Production Facility with all of us. That’s correct, there was no memo released to employees.

Moe wrote:

An insider told me that the plant was sold to Transcontinental, and the Tribune and Register will contract with them. He also stated that the labor arrangement will shock a lot of pressmen when it is announced. Also, the Register editoral staff will move into the office space and the production employees will run the presses.

Dear Moe, I questioned a manager at the newspaper regarding the Los Angeles Times negotiating with Transcontinental and his answer was a bit unnerving. After asking if the Times had planned to outsource the entire production of our newspaper to Transcontinental he answered “I cannot answer that question Edward”. So I’ll take his answer as a yes.

The Orange County Register has leased office space at the Times Costa Mesa Plant, and they’re also storing newsprint in the Times Orange County warehouse as well.

I questioned eighteen colleagues from Times Mirror Square, Olympic, and the Times Orange County Facility on whether the Orange County Plant would be shuttered. All eighteen colleagues stated the plant would be closing, with the date of closure ranging from December 20th, 2009 through June 2010.

Why do so many employees feel the Orange County Facility will be shuttered, while LA Times management claims it will not be shuttered because we have too many newspaper to produce?

Here are a few of the reasons I see the closure of the O.C. Facility next year:

  • The Plant Manager and three department managers laid off on Wednesday, September 16, 2009
  • Former Orange County Plant Manager Ron Ernst shared with me that the O.C. Plant would be closed in 2010
  • The cut down in width (occurring at all Tribune owned newspapers) from 48 inches to 44 inches has not been scheduled at the Times Orange County Facility.
  • The two presses at the Times Olympic Facility that were to remain at 48 inches are now being converted to run 44 inch and 48 inch wide newspapers.
  • The majority of production the Orange County Plant produced is now produced at the Olympic Plant, with the men and women that run the presses following the products.
  • Two plate setters moved, one to Olympic and one to California Community News, leaving one plate setter at the Orange County Plant.
  • Additional newspapers we have been praying to produce for over eighteen months have not arrived.
  • The sale of the property in Costa Mesa would pay down a small portion of the debt.

With the Tribune Company bankruptcy scheduled to end on February 28th, 2010 what may happen is anyone’s guess? The two possible scenarios see the Tribune Company remaining intact, or option two; all assets will be sold off.

Not certain which option would be best for Tribune employees?

Saturday, December 12, 2009

*The Blogging Pressman will visit Orange County LA Times

The Blogging Pressman will be heading down South to the Los Angeles Times Costa Mesa production Facility to photo document the facility and workers before the plant is shuttered next year.

So comb your hair and don the best uniforms you have as I will be snapping many pictures on Thursday and Friday next week.

*UPDATE: I will not be visiting the Orange County Facility this week as planned.

Saturday Morning in the Blogosphere

LAT Pressman Jesus Reyes Transferred from Orange County to Olympic

Invictus movie review by Kenneth Turan

Kenneth Turan reviews 'Invictus' staring Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon. DIRECTED BY Clint Eastwood.

A night to remember a child lost forever --

A night to remember a child lost forever --

Posted using ShareThis

Friday, December 11, 2009

History of the Pfaffinger Foundation

PFAFFINGER FOUNDATION was established in 1936 by Frank Pfaffinger, a cabinet-maker from Bavaria who immigrated to the United States in 1882 and began working for the Los Angeles Times in 1887. During a 53-year career with the Los Angeles Times, Mr. Pfaffinger also served as treasurer of the Times Mirror Company, formerly the parent company of the newspapers whose employees are now served by the Foundation. He helped the company grow through his frugal spending policies and careful business practices.

Mr. Pfaffinger was a philanthropist who cared deeply about the welfare of his fellow employees, often anonymously helping employees in need. He was an early shareholder of Times Mirror, acquired real estate in Los Angeles and elsewhere in Southern California, and invested in a number of local business ventures. Four years before his death in 1940, he set aside the bulk of his estate to create a permanent foundation that would that would, as he requested, assist “needy employees and former employees of The Times Mirror Company,” and their families. Since the Foundation’s assistance program became fully operational in 1945, grants have been made continuously to employees, retirees, and their families.

Frank Pfaffinger’s extraordinary insight created a legacy that continues into the 21st Century. Direct financial assistance, coupled with the support and guidance of professional case managers, make the Pfaffinger Foundation a rare and nearly unique organization.


The Pfaffinger Foundation continues to honor the legacy of Frank Pfaffinger. Managed by a professional staff under the direction of a board of directors, the Pfaffinger Foundation provides help to eligible employees, retirees, and surviving spouses at the newspapers previously owned by Times Mirror. Assistance is provided for such needs as medical expenses, emergency food and shelter, and other basic necessities due to unforeseen financial difficulties. The Foundation does not provide funds for usual or voluntary expenses such as weddings, travel, or investments.


Gene Brame Update

Our friend and supervisor here at the Los Angeles Times Olympic Facility Gene Brame,
Is in a coma and on life support at White Memorial Hospital.

This Sunday Gene will be taken off life support.

Our prayers for Gene and his family

Pfaffinger Foundation for LA Times Employees

This just in from the CEO of the Pfaffinger Foundation Stephen C. Meier:

Dear Ed Padgett,

I’m writing you in the hopes that you can get some of the following information about Pfaffinger Foundation on the Pressmen’s website.

The Pfaffinger Foundation was established in part to help Times employees, former employees, and their families. While we were once well known by just about everyone at The Times, we are concerned that many current and former Times employees no longer think of Pfaffinger when they experience financial difficulties. In 2008, we assisted 236 Los Angeles Times employees, former employees and retirees. Our numbers are down in 2009, which is troubling to us.

Among the ways Pfaffinger is assisting employees and former employees:

1. Paying some or all of COBRA payments if the individual is unable to do so.

2. Making a limited number of rent or mortgage payments while the family restructures its finances.

3. Arranging for financial counseling at no cost.

4. Assisting with medical bills not covered by insurance (and sometimes we are able to negotiate a reduction with the provider as well). We can also assist with a variety of other bills (e.g. utilities).

The way to access Pfaffinger services is to call us at (213) 680-7460. We do not have a website because our first step with an inquiry is to determine eligibility, and we do this on a case-by-case basis in conversation with the applicant. We are also happy to mail out a brochure.

Every applicant works with a professional case manager and is guided through the application process. Client information is totally confidential. Of course, approval is not automatic and we are not a “benefit.” In fact, we are totally independent of The Times and Tribune.

I hope this information is of interest to you and I would like to discuss with you how it might be shared with your members.

Please feel free to e-mail me or call at (213) 680-7467.

Steve Meier

Stephen C. Meier
Chairman and CEO
Pfaffinger Foundation
316 W. 2nd St., Suite PH-C
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Tel: (213) 680-7467
Fax: (213) 680-7474