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.
Editorial and video staff at Vox Media informed management this morning that they will attempt to organize with the Writers Guild of America, East.
Vox Media, founded in 2005, runs a range of websites that cover news, technology, sports and culture.
The staffers who seek to unionize work for the company’s eight editorial brands: SB Nation, Vox.com, Curbed, Racked, Eater, The Verge, Recode and Polygon, according to Jason Gordon, the guild’s director of communications. Recode co-founder Walt Mossberg, now retired, was a labor reporter for the Wall Street Journal early in his career.
The unit would be composed of 350 to 400 people, the spokesperson said.
The writers laid out their motivations to organize in an open letter provided to POLITICO. The letter cited a desire for consistency around salary and titles at the company, as well as concerns about the future.
“Vox Media will eventually buy or sell properties, engage with investors and advertisers, and perhaps discipline or lay off employees,” the letter reads. “In any such case, we want to preserve our benefits, to ensure our fair share of capital, and to protect individuals and their work from forces outside their control.”
The NLRB continues to certify faculty bargaining units on college campuses, although many of these effort have meet with mixed success and winning elections and gaining a collective bargaining agreement.
Per an update from Politico Pro:
The National Labor Relations Board certified a July 2016 union election by non-tenure track faculty at Northwestern University, clearing their path to collective bargaining.
The unit will include both full-time and part-time non-tenure track faculty at the Evanston, Ill., school, the union announced Tuesday.
Faculty at Northwestern organized under SEIU as Local 73, following faculty at the University of Chicago and Loyola University.