Top editors at the Los Angeles Times urged employees today to reject unionization in a vote to be held Thursday.
“We urge you to vote NO and keep the spirit of independence,” Editor-in-Chief Lewis D’Vorkin and interim Executive Editor Jim Kirk wrote in an email to the newsroom tweeted out by Matt Pearce, a national correspondent and union organizer at the paper.
The editors warned employees that a union might imperil “flexibility in personal schedules” and would likely request monthly dues. They reminded workers that it is difficult to do away with a union once it is in place.
The L.A. Times is the rare major metropolitan daily that has never had a union, in part in lingering reaction against a 1910 bombing by a labor radical from the International Association of Bridge and Structural Iron Workers that killed 21 people. The bombed building was located across the street from the Times’ current Art Deco headquarters.
“Union leaders may tell you they can protect against layoffs but they didn’t at The New York Times, Huffington Post, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal,” the email said.
Pearce pushed back against management’s assertion that a union would undermine journalistic Independence by citing a recent episode in which Disney retaliated against an investigative report published by the paper last year.
“Where was this vaunted ‘independence’ when Disney decided to punish our writers for practicing journalism? Our journalists, who are at-will employees, had to speak up to their top editor at the risk of their own jobs,” Pearce wrote on Twitter.