LOS ANGELES (CN) – After 136 years, the Los Angeles Times newsroom has formed a union after votes were tallied on Friday by federal employees.
The vote to unionize received 85 percent approval from reporters at the LA Times, who went to the polls earlier this month. The results were made official on Friday morning by the National Labor Relations Board: 248 yes votes to 44 votes against.
“It was electric,” said Anthony Pesce, union organizer and Los Angeles Times data reporter, who was with several other reporters as federal employees tallied the ballots. “The yes votes just kept rolling in. Everyone was really excited.”
For the last few months union organizers have listed their grievances with management in a public campaign that lambasted the lack of communication by Tronc Inc., the Times’ parent company.
Union organizers pointed to lavish executive salaries and a series of memos from Tronc that discouraged the unionizing efforts. Reporters shared those exchanges on their LA Times Guild blog under the section “Union Busting 101.”
Earlier this month, reporters shared images of a proposed newsroom that signaled management planned to move the newspaper to West LA and out of its current location downtown.
Concept designs shared by reporters included modern executive suites and a helicopter pad. The designs did not reference what the newsroom would look like, but did boast of a CEO office that faced the Hollywood sign.
Staff asked management for a response on the potential move, but were asked to wait until after the union vote.
“We’re ready to have that meeting,” said Pesce. “We want to be included in those discussions. The communication from management has not been good. Now that we have our union, we can have a voice at the table.”
Tronc said it looks “forward to productive conversations with union leadership as we move forward” in a statement issued Friday.
“We remain committed to ensuring that the Los Angeles Times is a leading source for news and information and to producing the award-winning journalism our readers rely on,” a Tronc spokeswoman said.
The Los Angeles Times union will be represented by the Washington-based NewsGuild-Communications Workers of America. Pesce said the union will work for pay increases for journalists, equal pay for women and journalists of color, and better communication with management.
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