Wednesday, June 02, 2010

News-Press Loses Another Big NLRB Case

Perhaps it was as predictable as "June gloom" around here (and "June gloom" appeared Johnny on the spot this year) but yet another administrative law judge has ruled that Wendy McCaw's Santa Barbara News-Press has committed numerous violations of the National Labor Relations Act.

Over 21 days of trial that was spread out between May through August of last year, Judge Clifford H. Anderson patiently listened to testimony and arguments in the case brought by the General Counsel of the NLRB against the News-Press. Now we finally know the outcome of all of that (no pun intended) labor.

In a whopping 151 page opinion that was filed last Friday and posted on National Labor Relations Board's website on Tuesday, the judge rules, among other things, that the News-Press:

Illegally laid off columnist Richard Mineards and suspended sports writer Dennis Moran (and later fired him) without notifying or bargaining with the Union concerning their discharge or suspensions.

Discouraged its employees from cooperating with the NLRB's on-going investigation of unfair labor practice charges.

Transferred work from the Union bargaining unit employees to temp agency employees to discourage employees from engaging in protected Union activity.

Assigned freelancers such as Robert Eringer, "The Investigator" (remember him?) work that would normally have been assigned to members of the bargaining unit in order to weaken the Union as the representative of the employees.

Failed to notify or bargain with the Union before implementing new policies affecting the conditions of work.

Engaged in a course of bad-faith bargaining and was fundamentally opposed to union representation of its employees and had no intention of entering into a collective bargaining agreement with the Union.

Among the orders Anderson imposed on the News-Press to rectify the situation is that the paper offer Mineards and Moran reinstatement to their former jobs and make them whole for any loss of earnings they suffered as a result of the News-Press' actions.

McCaw will undoubtedly appeal, as she always does, so I wouldn't advise either Mineards or Moran to make any immediate plans to return to their desks in the newsroom. Nevertheless, I would venture to guess that this June is starting out especially gloomy in the publisher's suite over at the News-Press.

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