Los Angeles Times newsroom employees have received a letter notifying them that Times journalists are seeking to form a union after months of organizing.
The one-page letter of intent from the Los Angeles Times Organizing Committee, found on some newsroom staffers’ desks on Wednesday morning, follows several months of turmoil at the Times, owned by Chicago-based tronc Inc. A newsroom staffer who asked not to be named said he received his notice via e-mail only.
The paper announced in June that it would commence a buyout to reduce newsroom staff. In August, the Times ousted Publisher and Editor-in-Chief Davan Maharaj, as well as several other top editors.
The management upheaval came on the heels of tronc’s second quarter earnings report, which saw second-quarter revenue fall 8.6 percent from the same period last year. The company also reported an increase in digital subscribers, fueled largely by new digital-only subscribers to the L.A. Times.
In the letter, obtained by the Business Journal, the organizing committee calls for the Los Angeles Times to joins the NewsGuild, which represents journalists and media workers at The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street journal and other organizations.
The committee said its goals were to protect benefits from unilateral change by tronc and to allow a group effort to fight for annual staff-wide salary increases; accrued vacation for all employees; equal pay for men, women and journalists of color; and fair notice of layoffs, guaranteed severance packages and recall rights, which allow a laid-off employee to be recalled to employment within a specified period.
The status of the unionization effort remains uncertain. Representatives of the Times, which has consistently fought off unionization efforts during its 135-year history, and tronc did not respond to requests for comment.
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