L.A. Times Publisher's Dire Warning to Staff: If Union Wins More Votes It Will Win Election

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Workers at the Los Angeles Times want to unionize. The newspaper’s bosses, however, do not want that to happen. Gee, wonder why!

A majority of Times staffers have signed cards indicating their support for for unionizing, and have asked tronc (sic), the Times’ Chicago-based parent company, to voluntarily recognize the union. tronc (sic) has refused, and the newsroom will vote on whether or not they will join the News Guild on January 4.

In the lead-up to the vote, Times managers have been furiously attempting to scare the staff away from supporting the union. On Monday, the Times’ editor-in-chief and interim executive editor emailed the newspaper’s staff to sow doubt about the benefits of unionizing:


Two days later, the Times’ publisher sent an email to staff to make the union election process sound almost sinister:

Read those highlighted sentences again: “In this union election, the union only needs 50% of the actual votes that are cast, plus 1, to win.” Another word for “50 percent plus one” is a “majority.”

In October, the Times hired Lewis D’Vorkin as its new editor in chief. D’Vorkin had previously worked as Forbes’ “chief product officer,” where he instituted a pay-per-click pay rate for freelance contributors and pioneered new forms of deceptive advertorial content:

Alongside the traditional in-depth articles produced by staff writers, D’Vorkin introduced online initiatives designed to save money and boost readership. That included paying outside contributors to write stories for Forbes.com, based on the number of readers they attracted. Advertisers were invited to pay to provide content for the site under the “BrandVoice” label.


As more journalists work to unionize their newsrooms, media company executives are put in a tough spot: How to undermine your employees’ efforts to gain more bargaining power within the workplace while still appearing woke?

As D’Vorkin himself might say, “It’s all a triangle.”