Wednesday, July 30, 2008

NLRB Accuses News-Press of Failing To Bargain In Good Faith

The NLRB will once again be prosecuting Wendy McCaw's News-Press for an unfair labor practice. This time the allegation is failure to bargain in good faith with the Teamsters Union.

The NLRB's investigation of allegations by the Teamsters of bad faith bargaining on the part of the paper came in response to a charge filed in May of this year.

According to a statement released by the Union on Tuesday, the News-Press conducted itself at the negotiating table as if the Union had not won the right to bargain, instead seeking to maintain the pre-union status quo in its bargaining positions.

In that statement, Teamster negotiator Nick Caruso was quoted as saying:

We would much prefer that the News-Press bargain in good faith and reach a satisfactory agreement, than have to go to the NLRB to once again force the newspaper to adhere to basic labor law requirements. We have been quite reasonable in our positions, and quite clear as to what it will take to get an agreement. We recognize these are tough times for newspapers, but the News-Press in turn has to recognize that the Union is here to stay, that the employees need and deserve some basic protection and stability, and that the best way to improve the paper and the atmosphere in the newsroom is to reach a fair employment contract.

The News-Press' lead negotiator, Nashville attorney Michael Zinser, has been charged with bad faith bargaining on at least two previous occasions. The NLRB's general counsel issued complaints against newspaper clients of Zinser in Pennsylvania and Hawaii for bargaining in bad faith in violation of federal labor law. Both of those cases settled before trial.

And, as expected, on July 24th, the attorneys for the NLRB indeed filed a formal notice of appeal of Judge Steven Wilson's ruling that denied a request for injunction immediately reinstating the eight fired News-Press reporters.

Given the reputation of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which will review Wilson's ruling, as one of the more liberal if not the most liberal of the federal appellate courts in the country, the chances of getting the refusal to grant the injunction overturned might be pretty good. But it's going to take some time.