The staff of the Los Angeles Times has overwhelmingly voted to unionize after a months-long campaign that faced intense opposition from both the paper’s management and owners.
The National Labor Relations Board tallied the votes Friday in downtown Los Angeles. Nearly 85% of those who cast ballots at the fourth-largest paper in the country voted for the union. Times journalists will be represented by NewsGuild, a union that also represents employees at The New York Times, Washington Post, and elsewhere.
The tension had mounted in recent months as management made literally cartoonish attempts to bust the union drive. Times staffers, meanwhile, put renewed focus on tronc executives’ private jet use and absurd compensation packages. They also revealed tronc Chairman Michael Ferro’s consideration of a lavish office space, complete with a helipad, for a company paying stagnant wages and consistently cutting jobs.
The news comes as Times staffers are in open revolt against their parent company, the Chicago-based tronc. After an NPR report Thursday laid out past allegations of sexual harassment by newly installed Times publisher Ross Levinsohn, the union organizing committee immediately called for him to be fired. A dozen senior editors published a similar statement soon after that said “the organization should not be led by anyone who has engaged in this behavior, if it is true.” And on Friday, more than 180 Times staffers signed a letter to tronc’s board calling for Levinsohn to canned.
“He has to go—without a cent more of company money,” the staffers wrote.
The newspaper has been staunchly anti-union throughout its 136-year history. Congrats to Times staffers for gaining a collective voice at a company that has so often disrespected them.