BlogaBarbara

Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Saturday, September 23, 2006

SBNP Tells Lawyers to Just Say No to Union

EdHat reported the following press statement from the News-Press management yesterday telling lawyers to stay away from the union. Who do they think they are? Is this a veiled threat of action against them? News of the Strange....by the way, I hear that it's okay to link to EdHat.

========================
Santa Barbara News-Press Statement

SANTA BARBARA, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Sept. 22, 2006--The Santa Barbara News-Press issued the following statement today:

The News-Press was disappointed to learn that a group of local attorneys are jumping on the publicity bandwagon by forming a so-called Lawyers Alliance for Free Speech Rights group claiming to raise funds to provide legal assistance for former employees of the paper. This appears to be a self-serving attempt to secure publicity under the guise of benevolent volunteerism by attaching themselves to a local controversy.

The purpose of the group is unclear since there has been no denial of free speech in this dispute. Former employees are required to abide by the various confidentiality agreements and policies they signed while employed at the News-Press. The Supreme Court of the United States has consistently upheld the validity of these confidentiality agreements and the News-Press actions to protect the paper's intellectual property and confidential information are lawful and proper and have nothing to do with free speech.

The willingness of professionals to join support groups without taking time to investigate what they are being asked to do and by who is disconcerting. Responsible professionals should make informed decisions, and as attorneys, these lawyers should definitely know not to draw conclusions without knowing all the facts. A call to the paper was never initiated and a personal letter from a fellow attorney challenging the reason for founding such a group went unacknowledged.

One main Teamster strategy is to co-opt community groups and leaders into putting public pressure on a company until they give in to union demands. The Santa Barbara News-Press is the target of a vicious corporate campaign and it is disappointing that many have been this easily taken in. By the union's own admission, they have pledged unlimited resources to win this campaign -- as a stepping stone to unionization attempts at other newspapers across the country.

Before rushing to judgment, the News-Press encourages politicians, journalism organizations, columnists, clergy, old reporters, rivals and competitors to reflect on how many facts they do not know, and to refrain from commenting without all the facts. Disingenuous statements about trying to save the paper, free the press, rescue the employees and protect citizens, are not only self-serving, but damaging to those involved, as well as the entire community.

For more information, obtain a copy of "Trends in Union Corporate Campaigns" by Jarol Manheim, published by George Washington University, or visit www.unionfacts.com or the Teamsters web site.

16 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The "Center for Union Facts" cited is a corrupt front group for an anti-union, anti-consumer dissembler named Rick Berman.

1. http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=The_Center_for_Union_Facts

"The Center for Union Facts is a secretive front group for individuals and industries opposed to union activities. It is part of lobbyist Rick Berman's family of front groups including the Employment Policies Institute.

The domain name www.unionfacts.com was registered to Berman & Co. in May 2005. In May 2006 the Center for Union Facts, launched its first TV ad campaign. The 30-second spot (http://www.unionfacts.com/ads/downloads/tv_unionBosses.wmv), running on Fox News and local markets, has "actors posing as workers" saying "sarcastically what they 'love' about unions," like paying dues, union leaders' "fat-cat lifestyles," and discrimination against minorities. The ad campaign cost $3 million, which was raised "from companies, foundations and individuals that Mr. Berman won't identify."
(1)
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB114799623004157251.html?mod=todays_us_marketplace

Another TV ad was to be filmed in June. Labor and economics professor Harley Shaiken said the effort "to create an antiunion atmosphere" more generally, as opposed to business-funded ads against a particular union organizing drive or strike, "is a new wrinkle." An AFL-CIO spokesperson called the ad's accusations "unfounded and outrageous."

[2]

2. http://www.prwatch.org/node/4458 "On

February 13, full-page advertisements in the New York Times, the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal, along with a media stunt involving a dinosaur, announced a new union-bashing front group called Center for Union Facts. Who is behind the ad and their UnionFacts.com website? Nothing in the advertisements or the webpage mentions Rick Berman, but -- Bingo! -- that's who owns the website domain name. Rick Berman is a right-wing lobbyist who has built a lucrative career establishing industry-funded front groups including FishScam.com, the Center for Consumer Freedom, the Employment Policies Institute, the Employment Roundtable and ActivistCash.com. Berman specializes in personal attacks, smear tactics and playing loose with the facts. He has raised millions of dollars from tobacco, booze, biotech, fast food, grocery and other businesses eager to pay Berman to do their dirty work. Another Berman connection to the Center for Union Facts is Sarah Longwell, the group's PR contact, who has also worked for Berman's Employment Policies Institute."

3.
http://www.citizensforethics.org/filelibrary/BermanBrief.pdf#search=%22Center%20for%20Union%20facts%22

This offers a bit of Berman's history, as a tobacco obbyist, who also worked against the minimum wage.

9/23/2006 9:34 AM  
Anonymous craigfan said...

This statement from the News-Press was issued hours after Millstein's personal letter to the lawyers was posted here:

http://www.west.net/~smith/blog/index.shtml

9/23/2006 9:40 AM  
Anonymous directlink2letter said...

Hit the blue words for a direct link to the letter

9/23/2006 9:44 AM  
Anonymous First District Streetfighter said...

Actually, before EDHAT put at at its web site, I posted that newspress statement at the appropriate Blogabarbara subject entitled
"Rally for Organized NP Workers"
9/22/2006 1:48 PM

Anyway, when we think it cannot get any worse than it is, it does with the latest on NewsPressMess. Millstein really seems to be groping for how to justify his billable hours.

9/23/2006 10:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The News Press statement was issued following a press release announcing formation of the Lawyers Alliance for Free Speech Rights, a group of 44 prominent local lawyers (including former judges and bar association leaders). The Lawyers Alliance press release, including the names of the 44 founding members, is available on Ed Hat from Friday, Sept. 22.

9/23/2006 10:32 AM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

Thanks FDS -- you are right and I need more sleep :)

9/23/2006 10:42 AM  
Anonymous The Point said...

Rather than the "first" posters vying for credit, how about a focus on the substance of the N-P's outrageous letter---a letter that will probably result in TWICE the number of lawyers, and amount of money raised, for the beleaguered journalists.

Sara, as always thanks for zeroing in on the issues of the day.

9/23/2006 11:22 AM  
Blogger cookie jill said...

The Snooze Suppress is wanting people to think it's a victim of "cyber terrorism" now...

Santa Barbara News-Press Being Victimized by Criminal Solicitation Alert

SANTA BARBARA, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Santa Barbara News-Press issued the following statement today in response to anonymous threats made against the paper:

A disturbing anonymous Internet posting related to the current labor dispute between the Santa Barbara News-Press and the Teamsters union was sent to the company calling for certain illegal actions to be taken against the paper. Several of the actions are serious crimes and the posting itself is a thinly veiled solicitation for criminal acts, which is also a crime.

Among the threats is a call to break into the newspaper's computer system to disrupt and damage normal business activities and for people to steal papers from the news racks. These sorts of attacks are crimes punishable by heavy fines and even prison terms.

The Santa Barbara News-Press takes these threats seriously and intends to cooperate fully in any law enforcement investigation. The company is committed to prosecuting any criminal activities directed towards the paper and its employees to the full extent of the law.

While the identity of the writer isn't yet known, activities of this nature are involved in union corporate campaigns and are used when attempting to improperly force a company to give in to union demands. Professor Jarol B. Manheim at The George Washington University, who is recognized by one publication as "one of the world's foremost experts on campaigns against businesses," describes a corporate campaign this way:

"It is a highly sophisticated form of warfare in which a target company is subjected to diverse attacks...the function of which is to so thoroughly undermine confidence in the company that it is no longer able to do business as usual. The union waging the campaign then offers to withdraw the pressure in return for substantial concessions."

This sort of campaign is most often used to circumvent the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) procedures and secret ballot elections. The News-Press has already agreed on a date for the NLRB sanctioned election. The paper is doing everything it can to work within the system and the law, and will vigorously defend itself against any attempts to do otherwise by anyone.
Contacts

Agnes Huff Communications
Agnes Huff, PhD, 310-641-2525


http://home.businesswire.com/portal/site/google/index.jsp?ndmViewId=news_view&newsId=20060923005072&newsLang=en

9/23/2006 2:30 PM  
Blogger passing-by said...

I think the NP is right... we all should take some time "to reflect on how many facts they (we) do not know". I'm trying to figure out how to think about things I do not know... I am wishing someone would tell me what those things are so I can think about them more effectively. Oh, wait! That's what they call free speech, isn't it? Nevermind.

9/23/2006 3:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't miss Craig Smith Blog's input on this letter, posted yesterday afternoon. (This by no means detracts from Blogabarbara, Sara, but Smith's take is always interesting and worth the read!

9/23/2006 3:06 PM  
Anonymous harping said...

Sara, I just found the following item on Google News & thought you should know about it:

September 23, 2006 12:26 PM Eastern Time
Santa Barbara News-Press Being Victimized by Criminal Solicitation Alert
SANTA BARBARA, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Santa Barbara News-Press issued the following statement today in response to anonymous threats made against the paper:

A disturbing anonymous Internet posting related to the current labor dispute between the Santa Barbara News-Press and the Teamsters union was sent to the company calling for certain illegal actions to be taken against the paper. Several of the actions are serious crimes and the posting itself is a thinly veiled solicitation for criminal acts, which is also a crime.

Among the threats is a call to break into the newspaper's computer system to disrupt and damage normal business activities and for people to steal papers from the news racks. These sorts of attacks are crimes punishable by heavy fines and even prison terms.

The Santa Barbara News-Press takes these threats seriously and intends to cooperate fully in any law enforcement investigation. The company is committed to prosecuting any criminal activities directed towards the paper and its employees to the full extent of the law.

While the identity of the writer isn't yet known, activities of this nature are involved in union corporate campaigns and are used when attempting to improperly force a company to give in to union demands. Professor Jarol B. Manheim at The George Washington University, who is recognized by one publication as "one of the world's foremost experts on campaigns against businesses," describes a corporate campaign this way:

"It is a highly sophisticated form of warfare in which a target company is subjected to diverse attacks...the function of which is to so thoroughly undermine confidence in the company that it is no longer able to do business as usual. The union waging the campaign then offers to withdraw the pressure in return for substantial concessions."

This sort of campaign is most often used to circumvent the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) procedures and secret ballot elections. The News-Press has already agreed on a date for the NLRB sanctioned election. The paper is doing everything it can to work within the system and the law, and will vigorously defend itself against any attempts to do otherwise by anyone.
Contact:
Agnes Huff Communications
Agnes Huff, PhD, 310-641-2525

http://home.businesswire.com/portal/site/google/index.jsp?ndmViewId=news_view&newsId=20060923005072&newsLang=en

9/23/2006 3:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh this is such fun... will the News Press report on the court case?
i guess Wendy needed help digging that hole.
National Joke is right, sure that letter will be sent to every lawyer in the world.
Oh well what's the point of having a client with lots off money to take if you can't have a little fun along the way.
Who advises this woman?? uhhh maybe lil'nip? Huff could not be that bad? or think she's washing her hands now after going to the bank.
Sure wish Spendy was around to keep us updated.
Thanks Sara for all you do for us in Santa Barbara.

9/23/2006 4:15 PM  
Anonymous First District Streetfighter said...

From a half-hour ago, News-Press cries about the 5-point plan once posted as a comment at Blogabarbara. This only creates more of a buzz to pay attention to the Teamsters rally tomorrow.

Agnes and Nipster, be sure to drink some more gourmet bottled water so you stay hydrated with all the crybaby weeping you are doing here! Now, "victim" is even in the title of their latest pathos.

------------------------
September 23, 2006 12:26 PM Eastern Time
Santa Barbara News-Press Being Victimized by Criminal
Solicitation Alert
SANTA BARBARA, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Santa Barbara News-Press
issued the following statement today in response to anonymous threats made
against the paper:
A disturbing anonymous Internet posting related to the current labor dispute
between the Santa Barbara News-Press and the Teamsters union was sent to the
company calling for certain illegal actions to be taken against the paper. Several
of the actions are serious crimes and the posting itself is a thinly veiled solicitation
for criminal acts, which is also a crime.
Among the threats is a call to break into the newspaper's computer system to
disrupt and damage normal business activities and for people to steal papers from
the news racks. These sorts of attacks are crimes punishable by heavy fines and
even prison terms.
The Santa Barbara News-Press takes these threats seriously and intends to
cooperate fully in any law enforcement investigation. The company is committed
to prosecuting any criminal activities directed towards the paper and its
employees to the full extent of the law.
While the identity of the writer isn't yet known, activities of this nature are involved
in union corporate campaigns and are used when attempting to improperly force a
company to give in to union demands. Professor Jarol B. Manheim at The George
Washington University, who is recognized by one publication as "one of the
world's foremost experts on campaigns against businesses," describes a
corporate campaign this way:
"It is a highly sophisticated form of warfare in which a target company is subjected
to diverse attacks...the function of which is to so thoroughly undermine confidence
in the company that it is no longer able to do business as usual. The union waging
the campaign then offers to withdraw the pressure in return for substantial
concessions."
This sort of campaign is most often used to circumvent the National Labor
Relations Board (NLRB) procedures and secret ballot elections. The News-Press
has already agreed on a date for the NLRB sanctioned election. The paper is
doing everything it can to work within the system and the law, and will vigorously
defend itself against any attempts to do otherwise by anyone.

9/23/2006 4:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

it will probably turn out to be Huff that placed the "disturbing" post...keep those checks a coming Wendy.... they love to cash em.

9/23/2006 5:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tom Storke, Charles Storke, Stuart Taylor, Dale Davis, Joe Tarrar, Steve Ainsley, Ken Svanum, Allan Parsons, Joe Cole, Will Fleet and Jerry Roberts – in short, all of the News-Press’ Publishers within the past 100 years, save two -- would have sat down and spoken with the “politicians, journalism organizations, columnists, clergy, old reporters, rivals and competitors” mentioned above in Wendy McCaw’s national press release, which tries to tell local attorneys not to represent reporters and editors being sued by McCaw and served with her “cease and desist” letters.

The sole exceptions over the past century are Publishers Wendy McCaw and Arthur von Wiesenberger. They won’t meet and talk with ANY of the newspaper’s constituencies; instead, they use Los Angeles people and San Francisco people to give local people the finger by national business wire, complaining that us dumb locals don’t have the “facts.”

Increasingly paranoid and eccentric, instead of talking with her “customers” as Craig Smith rightly calls them, McCaw brings in additional security guards and private investigators to ring the News-Press building. When McCaw’s employees inside the building try to communicate with her by delivering a letter – since she won’t talk to them – they are hit with suspensions and their pay is cut.

Her Keystone Kops “management team” of the boyfriend, the out-of-town lawyer and crisis manager, keep steppin’ in it, day after day, like they just can’t think, like they’re caught in the headlights, like it’s everyone else’s fault. As Armstrong’s Sunday editorial shows, they remain tone deaf to what Santa Barbara is. The paper this morning was so thin it was a joke.

If McCaw wins the union vote, the fresh reporters brought in to vote against the union will be fired anyway, along with other employees at the News-Press, as part of the coming layoffs since McCaw and her blogging hamburger cook co-publisher have taught an entire community how to use the internet to get their news rather than the newspaper.

So out of touch. So arrogant. So ignorant. Such a national joke. So desperate. And, later this week, so deserving of her new union.

9/25/2006 8:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yay, N-P employees! 33-6, 85% in favor of union representation! We look forward to your successful negotiations ... and renewing our subscriptions.

9/27/2006 6:17 PM  

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