Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Friday, October 20, 2006

NLRB Supports Teamsters

Oct. 20, 2006
To: All Media
From: The organized at SBNP

Today the National Labor Relations Board confirmed what the Teamsters union and the News-Press reporters it represents have been saying all along: management's complaints filed with the NLRB about alleged union intimidation and "confusion" are totally bogus.

Today, after conducting an investigation that included providing management with an opportunity to provide evidence to support its charges, the NLRB announced its conclusion that there is no basis for those charges and therefore dismissed them.

In short, the NLRB determined that the News-Press' absurd claims that the Union violated the law by setting up a "" website, and trying to collectively deliver a workplace demand letter to owner Wendy McCaw, were not worthy of serious consideration.

It bears emphasis that the News-Press has also filed objections to the Teamsters' recent 33-6 election victory which are virtually identical to the charges the NLRB dismissed today, offering an indication of the frivolous character of those objections as well; obviously the objections were interposed solely for the purpose of delaying the News-Press' obligation to negotiate in good faith with the union.

The News-Press itself announced on October 3 that the pending objections were "consistent" with its now-dismissed charges, thus further exposing its position to be not one of cooperation, as it professes, with the NLRB's election process -- which is designed to ensure workplace democracy -- but one intended instead to maintain workplace autocracy, notwithstanding the law requiring employee participation once the Union has demonstrated that a majority of the employees in the newsroom wants a union.

The Teamsters hope that now that its charges have been duly considered and dismissed by the neutral governmental agency empowered to prosecute and adjudicate such charges, that the News-Press will recognize that its identical objections are without basis, and withdraw them so it can begin the collective bargaining process, as the law calls upon it to do.

- 30 -


Anonymous Will they please just go away? said...

HAH! Perhaps now is the beginning of the beginning of the end. Certainly its the end of any shred of credibility the McCaw/Armstrong/Von Wiesenberger ruling elite might have had in this community.

And Travis's obsessive, idiotic rants of late---against Measure D, are exceeding even his most twisted illogic paranoid ramblings ever. A laughing stock he is. A caricature of himself.

Go quietly into the night, man, go quietly

10/21/2006 12:38 AM  
Blogger max height said...

Let's see if the N-P covers this news item...

10/21/2006 6:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

will they please just go away..

So you want the NP to fail now that those newspaper staff have gone through all the trouble to gain union representation? I don't follow the logic of condemning a company and its leaders when the flip side people are fighting for their employment rights to make the company better.

Besides (and I know this will just make you mad but it is true) Travis is such a cool guy.

10/21/2006 12:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

100 out of 20,000 students and it's a "study"? The latest from our publisher, the tender of a water bar in Las Vegas:

10/21/2006 10:24 PM  
Anonymous Eckermann said...

Frank Zappa once said that the worst things one could be were cool and cute. Mr. Armstrong is many things, some of them good, others arguably less good; but one thing his is not is cool. He is passionate and emotional and tends toward the irrational outburst, which is the opposite of "cool." Notwithstanding all the conflict going on at the News-Press, I have nothing personally against Travis Armstrong. But he is not cool. Even a casual conversation with the man is laced with subtle tension. But then Frank Zappa would not have thought being cool was so important anyway.

The News-Press management needs to get on with business, realize that they now have a union, negotiate in good faith, get a contract, and produce a daily newspaper. This is a simple formula. Any idiot could do it.

10/21/2006 10:56 PM  
Anonymous Will they please just go away? said...

anon 12:49....

I very much want the News-Press to be revived---and it can only do that with its current dictators--now worldwide laughingstocks=== gone.

Don't know what your definition of "cool" is---- but someone who thrives on manufacturing unfounded personal attacks on people who've dedicated their lives to betterment of community, and who publishes distortion and misinformation on important public policy matters that will effect the lives of hundreds of thousands [eg: Measure D] is pretty "uncool" in my book. For Santa Barbara, anyway--maybe that's all considered "cool" somewhere else....

10/22/2006 12:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It would be no loss if the news-press failed.

10/22/2006 8:52 AM  
Anonymous Cancel my subscription said...

Hmmmmmm, it’s Sunday morning, the coffee’s hot, and the Santa Barbara News-Press looks pretty thick.

Let’s see, how is the paper doing in its “highly publicized transitional period”?

Yep, of four stories on page 1, only one is about something local. (“Non-local bias” was a big problem with those editors who split—good thing that’s fixed.)

Let’s see, Wendy McCaw, on her editorial page, is nuts about animals.

Yep, there it is, the story on top, headline “She’ll never forget the elephant’s plight.” If you want to compliment the reporter and can’t reach her at the News-Press, try her at her gig of hawking chocolate fountains at weddings,

Let’s see, Wendy McCaw, on her editorial page, is against the war.

Yep, there it is, also on top, “U.S. forces see deadliest month of ’06.”

Let’s see, oh yes, the once food writer and now publisher, Nipper von Whateverburger, has to make his contribution to serious-Sunday-front-page-news.

Yep, there it is, also on page one, “You may be counting calories, but your chef probably isn’t; Taste, looks top restaurants’ priorities.”

Let’s see, can’t the News-Press sell more papers in Goleta?

Yep, there it is, a stunning photograph of a young man in Goleta with his face obscured at a food festival, spinning sugar, along with a cute picture of a girl on a pony —metaphors for the lite new post-transitional News-Press.

Let’s see, well, the balance of political power is about to change in the U.S. Congress.

Gosh, better have something about that on Sunday—let’s slip it in at the bottom, under Nipper’s restaurant bit.

Hmmmmmm, turning to page 2:

Let’s see, eight local columnists yanked, Dr. Laura hired—exciting transitional stuff.

Yep, there it is, the usual incomprehensible dense and unreadable rant by the good Dr., with nothing Santa Barbara in it.

Let’s see, no other news on page 2.

Yep, there is it, a box explaining it: no “Editor-in-Chief,” but an “Associate Editor” who doesn’t live in town and who Nipper/Neville said is doing an “exemplary job leading the newsroom” on this very same Blogabarbara.

And, let’s see, the divorcee and her kept food writer as “Co-Publishers.”

Yep, quite a “transition.” Kind of like menopause.

Hmmmmm, no need to read further.

10/22/2006 8:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The News Press debacle may have pushed Santa Barbara way ahead of the norm in newsgathering. (Can you imagine SB being AHEAD of US media trends?)

Thanks to the slide of the NP, many people in this area are getting their news on line and learning to love it. The talk back feature, as on Blogabarbara, sans editing by biased minions like Travis, is fascinating, fast and fun. Current local news links, delivered to email by edhat, are informative and more timely than print. Edhat and Indy on-line had links to news posted about Montecito's Westmont hearing within hours of the gavel going down while the Wendy’s We’re-Dedicated-To-Local-News NP Team has yet to print a word about this story.

So, with more and more people saying they only get their news on line... it seems the NP may indeed be a national media trend setter...with Wendy the first to lead print papers right out of business! This is one first place prize you’d think even the dopiest of publishers would have tried to avoid!

10/22/2006 11:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

8:53 AM, there's a mistake in your comment about Dr. Laura. While in the past some of Dr. Laura's columns have not originated locally, two of the letters she reprints today appear to be from Santa Barbara families.

10/22/2006 12:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

will they just please go away and eckerman.

You are entitled to your opinions but as far as my opinion goes, I really think Travis is so cool and extremely cute, he is also articulate, controversial and intelligent.

10/22/2006 3:39 PM  
Anonymous Nelville Flynn said...

Among the many drawbacks of a union takeover at the News-Press is one that should concern every reader: It could be a serious hindrance to efforts to banish bias from the pages of the newspaper.

Since July, management has been working diligently to restore journalistic integrity to the News-Press. The results are apparent in each edition.

Unfortunately, a "power-sharing" usurpation of professional management's proper role would revserve this progress. The Teamsters are a politically active union known to achieve their goals through questionable tactics. Can you imagine a Teamster-controlled News-Press even attempting to investigate Teamster corruption in Santa Barbara? It gets worse, as unions subscribe to the philosophy of "solidarity" in which they agree to support one another's causes and to embrace collectivist politics more generally. This bias would easily infect the News-Press' news columns. Moreover, it would be difficult for News-Press professional editors to exercise their proper management authority because the union mediation/arbitration process of drawn-out disputes and pressure tactics is ill-suited to the fast pace of a newsroom, where editors need to exercise their judgment in a split second.

10/22/2006 8:25 PM  
Blogger Bill Carson said...

"Frank Zappa once said"?!?! Uh...(it's hard for me to stop laughing) who the heck cares what Frank Zappa once said!? The guy named his kids Moon Unit and Dweezil for heaven's sake!

Like wow, like, really, like, hey, like I always base important decisions, like, in my life, like, what Frank Zappa had to, like, say.

10/22/2006 11:15 PM  
Anonymous Down and dirty, again said...

How much intelligence is shown by McCaw, Weisenberger and Armstrong in picking corrosive fights with the closest dailies to the north and south, the Santa Maria Times and the Ventura County Star? Here’s the latest:

10/23/2006 7:45 AM  
Anonymous Neighbor to the North said...

Anyone see Tom Bolton's response to Travis, published in yesterday's Santa Maria Times:

I'll let you be the judge of integrity

Tom Bolton/From the Editor

Twice in the last week, this newspaper's integrity has come under unwarranted attack in columns written by the editorial page editor of the Santa Barbara News-Press.

In case you've somehow missed it, for months now the News-Press has been wracked by a very-public conflict between its journalists and its mega-rich owner, Wendy McCaw, over issues of editorial independence and integrity.

Amid the turmoil, dozens of talented and experienced journalists have left the News-Press, including some who now work for this newspaper.

While we've written news stories about much of what has transpired at the News-Press, we have refrained from commenting on the situation on our opinion pages, feeling we didn't need to delve into their dirty laundry.

But when their opinion editor, Travis Armstrong, made baseless accusations questioning our ethics, I felt compelled to respond in writing.

However, rather than allow me to answer his charges in print, Armstrong took small portions of my letter, twisted them, and attacked us again in his column. He also warned me that should I use my own editorial pages to defend our integrity, I would be proving his contention that we are “ethically challenged.”

Armstrong's analysis and logic are so flawed that it's mind-boggling, but it's what I've come to expect from the amateur-hour newspaper to the south.

Here is my unedited response to Armstrong. Ask yourself why he's afraid to run it.

I'll leave it to you to decide who is ethically challenged.


It's unfortunate that your efforts to overcome the massive problems you have created for yourselves in your newsroom and within the community continue to manifest themselves primarily in baseless attacks on others.

The latest chapter of your desperate campaign has Travis Armstrong labeling the Santa Maria Times “ethically challenged” because members of our news staff are part of our editorial board. You ask where is the dividing line - the “wall,” as you put it - between news and opinion.

It's quite simple: Stories that appear on our news pages are written and edited to the highest standards of accuracy, fairness, thoroughness and impartiality.

We don't write or edit our stories to please our publisher, our owner or their friends, or to punish the people or groups she or they don't like or agree with.

Our editorial pages, meanwhile, provide a robust forum for a wide range of viewpoints, and we print as many or more from folks who disagree with us as from those who share our views.

We also offer nearly unfettered access for letter writers, omitting only those very few that are blatantly offensive or libelous.

As is the case at a great number of newspapers across this country - especially smaller ones - our senior editors do help formulate our editorial positions. We do this openly, with full disclosure to our readers. And we take great care to ensure that the opinions we express in our editorials do not insinuate themselves into our news coverage.

Similarly, we've been totally open about the fact that contributing editor John Lankford, who writes many of our editorials, continues to do work for us even though he now lives out of the area. Lankford is a seasoned pro who stands head and shoulders above anyone else doing similar work on the Central Coast, and we're lucky to have him.

Our readers are not troubled by these circumstances because we've proven we can be trusted to handle these tasks with the utmost honesty and integrity.

Those so clumsily wielding power at your newspaper fail to grasp the obvious: It's not about whether you have “walls” separating news and opinion.

It's about honesty and integrity and whether you can be trusted to do the right thing.

Tom Bolton

Executive Editor

Santa Maria Times

Oct 22, 2006

10/23/2006 8:32 AM  
Anonymous Sojourner said...

Go Tom. If you still have a subsciption to the NP, you're paying good money to be insulted, like a fan of the late comedian Don Rickles. Unlike Rickles, however, TKA will not apologize at the end of the show.

10/23/2006 10:47 AM  
Anonymous Nelville Flynn said...

Tom Bolton's self-righteous mewing leaves out one critical fact. For an editor supposedly devoted to ethics and disclosure, it's curious that Bolton neglects to mention that he was discharged as News-Press executive editor when it became clear that he could not run the newsroom with ethics and professionalism.

His rant in the Santa Maria Times, then, is so much sour grapes. He pronounces himself ethically superior to his former employer yet fails to tell readers that he might just have a teensy little chip on his shoulder.

Some ethics, huh?

10/23/2006 11:04 AM  
Anonymous David Pritchett said...

My report at EDHAT of the Lemon Award announced 2 days ago by Santa Barbara Women's Political Committee (no surprise about who is the Lemon of the decade):

Copy and paste the URL as needed, or look for it at under local news for Oct.22

10/23/2006 12:08 PM  
Blogger budlawman said...

Nelville Flynn's comments re: a "union takeover" at the SBNP reflect equal parts ignorance and hostility toward his employees' rights and his managerial duties under the law to accept the verdict they have rendered.

Let's start with the ignorant part. Contrary to Nelville's uninformed palaver, a union does not "take over" management of a newspaper when its newsroom (and/or other) employees vote for union representation. Putting aside the inevitability that the NLRB will eventually sweep away the legal obstacles Flynn's lawyers have interposed to delay collective bargaining -- something he probably has been informed about by those same lawyers -- what union representation brings is a heretofore missing employee voice in the workplace. Leveling the playing field at work is not something that interests Nelville; he was happy with unilateral and even retroactive employee rule changes, dictatorial control over every word uttered by employees whether at the NP's premises or elsewhere, arbitrary harsh treatment of staff, and employees fleeing his three-ring circus. Nelville raises the specter of creeping "collectivity" -- oh my goodness, people getting together to challenge corporate greed, fraud and abuse -- perhaps it's hitting a bit close to home, sir? But what that unfounded fear might have to do with what stories are pursued and which are not escapes the bounds of comprehension; how often does an editor truly have to decide whether or not to pursue a story in a "split second"? More ignorance on display, seems like. How much paranoia does it take for someone to sincerely (?) conclude that the union is going to "take over", and then "run" the News-Press as if it were a union newsletter, which is what Nelville asks us to believe (and asks us to believe he believes)?

This willful ignorance masks hostility to any kind of "power-sharing" regardless of what the law requires, revealing Nelville as perfectly willing to defy the law when it comes to management's obligations under the National Labor Relations Act. "Pressure tactics" are OK with him, as long as he's applying the pressure; a bit of pushback, and it could only be coming from charlatans, dupes, union puppets and now, "collectivists" who will turn the NP into a commune!!! Serving porkburgers, I suppose.

There will come a day soon when Nelville and his minions and sycophants will face the legal reckoning and reality that the September 27 vote guaranteed. It would be of benefit to all concerned if he took a daily dose of reality each morning in the meantime.

10/23/2006 12:15 PM  
Anonymous Will they please just go away? said...

Oh Nelville, so sad...don't you have just ONE person in your life you will tell you the truth----IT'S OVER!! the current N-P regime has ZERO credibility ANYWHERE ON THE PLANET, DUDE!!!! And the people you attack become heroes just because---well, because you attack them......hey, maybe that's your real agenda, eh?

10/23/2006 12:27 PM  
Anonymous First District Streetfighter said...

And Nelville, how again was it "clear" that Tom Bolton "could not run the newsroom with ethics and professionalism"?

Just what happened that was so clear?
Do tell, and be specific.

Or is this more of your theories on "bias" that are the sour grapes you also imagine are held by Jerry Roberts and the other editors and reporters?

10/23/2006 1:01 PM  
Anonymous Nelville Flynn said...

In my recent posts, I called out the Teamsters for trying to hijack the News-Press' editorial judgments and Tom Bolton for hypocrisy.

It's interesting that busybodies and self-appointed journalism ethicists like Sander Vanocur and Lou Cannon are quick to chastise the News-Press for alleged infractions yet remain silent in the face of these clear violations.

Their two-facedness is as despicable as their silence is deafening.

10/23/2006 1:01 PM  
Anonymous First District Streetfighter said...

No, Nelville, this was not in your prior posts. You have complained and accused, but offered no specific examples then.

Again, how again was it "clear" that Tom Bolton "could not run the newsroom with ethics and professionalism"?
Just what happened that was so clear?
What was the "bias" promulgated by Jerry Roberts?

Do tell, and be specific.
Or are facts, or lack therof, too stubborn?

And also tell why is Travis Armstrong so afraid (yes, AFRAID) to appear in public and discuss any of this?

10/23/2006 3:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd like to start a pool on how long it will take before the NP files Chapter 11

10/23/2006 3:41 PM  
Anonymous been there said...

Exactly WHAT "violations," nelville? Time to put up or STFU. You, as they say on the street, got nothin'.

Tom Bolton, with whom I worked for at least a decade, is twice the journalist and human being you'll ever be. And I say this as one of the bargainers for the union he and the NYT busted back in the '90s.

Whether you're Travis or the Nipper makes no difference. You gutlessly say you can't elucidate the specifics of "biases" and "agendas" of the departed journalists you malign because it's an "internal" matter, and yet you slime Tom. Pathetic. Does Wendy even know you're posting here?

And finally, you sad sack of excrement (too much, Sara?), you haven't earned the right to even utter Sander Vanocur and Lou Cannon's names.

10/23/2006 5:21 PM  
Anonymous Worker Bee said...

(The Calixe floats quietly upon the Pacific at night. A rainbow, despite the sun's absence, arches over the ship)

On the Calixe, 2+2=5....or whatever! On the Calixe, we have no fear of the needful world. On the Calixe, we live in harmony and want for nothing.

10/23/2006 6:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Neville-Travis, Tom Bolton was fired because he refused to let Wendy McCaw shove the NP newsroom in unethical directions. (Jerry Roberts quit for the same reasons, realizing that it was either that or be fired.) How does that make either of them unethical? And if you think Bolton is guilty of "clear violations," then by all means, please, name one. And not just having his name in two places in the newspaper. I mean, what has he DONE that's unethical? As his commentary said, the Times seems to be completely open with its readers. How is that unethical?
If you write a letter to the editor of the Times, let's see if they squelch it or publish it. That might be a good test.
And as for your claims that anything said or written by former News-Press employees must be biased against you: By your logic, you must have a vendetta against the San Jose Mercury News, for example, since you used to work there. Does that mean that anything you say or write about them is part of some malevolent agenda? If so, that's pretty sad. But not everyone is out to get you just because you're paranoid. Some people can actually tell the truth despite being mistreated in the past. You should try it some time.

10/23/2006 6:28 PM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

It is too much "been there" -- and I'd advise against using too much French in this context. Easy to get angry at Nelville -- and he certainly asks for it -- but we can take the higher road.

10/23/2006 6:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

anon 12:59pm; NOT A "dr" LAURA SCHLESSINGER has 2 reprint letters, you say they "appear to be from Santa Barbara". Why doesn't she just add locations? She must get local letters, big deal IF she put 2 in local column. Write to her and make the suggestion for locations AND why it's necessary. I like to think even Wendy can see how inappropriate she is, why not give her a Dear Abby type column in national section? (Don't mean to insult Dear Abby) I don't know there is a section for her, did you read her take on protests?.. "They picket what? Stupid stuff, because it's safer. Let them go picket a Sunni or a Shite death squad. They're not going to do that. They're going to picket in a country in which they're safe to be cowardly and stupid.".. Is she talking to this community? Or using this venue to stir her followers? She's using our good town to rant, she insults most everyone. Most notably Wendy. I don't know Wendy, does she like the incendiary divisive routines, pandering to the vulnerable?

10/23/2006 10:18 PM  
Anonymous strangled said...

I'm sick of Sarah's "moderation".

Please, UNLEASH ME, you biased blog-queen!!!!!!!!!

10/24/2006 2:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

strangled, Please create your own blog. Link from comments. I don't know what has been moderated. It's usually ^#**@!~ words, name calling and criminal plots.

10/24/2006 10:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Once again this blog is a laugh to read. Do you posters honestly believe that TKA would bother to read this blog? I come here and read once in a while and if there is anything comical I let him know.

So much bitterness and misplaced anger litters this blog. I think I smell jealousy. Please seek help for your anger issues.

10/24/2006 12:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is too much "been there" -- and I'd advise against using too much French in this context. Easy to get angry at Nelville -- and he certainly asks for it -- but we can take the higher road.

The higher road? Like falsley accusing Travis of sexism? That road?

10/24/2006 1:44 PM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

Falsely??? Read the's rather obvious AND, it is different than using foul language....

10/24/2006 2:12 PM  
Anonymous dr. freud said...

You know you love the Travster.

10/24/2006 2:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

12:45pm anon: TKA has the LEAD on bitterness and misplaced anger----the Queen of it PAYS him to fill the pages of her "newspaper" with both..........and LOLOL to anyone who questions the sexism and misogyny that ooze from Armstrong's words----it permeates his op-eds, choice of letters he publishes, his endorsements....on and on and on........

10/24/2006 4:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

First District Streetfighter

Afraid to appear in public? I think not. Although TKA would be well advised to limit his public appearances because of idiots like you. God knows what your capable of with a ill-tempered personality like yours.

10/24/2006 4:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Travis is sexist? I think you mean sexy.

10/24/2006 7:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So now the excuse is that the Travster fears he will be a victim of violence?

Going to play the race or homophobia card next?

10/24/2006 7:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

But let's all remember one thing: Travis doesn't have a Driver's License so appearing in public might be limited by travel radius....and he's so down on Measure D that we know public transit isn't so much an option for him.....

as for danger/risk--I'd steer clear of someone driving drunk down a one way street......

10/24/2006 8:19 PM  
Anonymous big fat fan of travis said...

Travis discusses these things quite frequently in public. Read his column, or listen to his radio show. You can email him, or call into his radio show any time. What else do you want, other than the opportunity to gaze at him in person?

10/25/2006 9:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

anon 12:45p, Humor is healing. It doesn't matter if TKA, Nip, Wendy or any other at n-p is actually hands on or participating. You're all programed to harp for the same machine and incapable of doing anything outside your cell, for all I care your dribbles could be outsourced. Of course, everyone else is wrong in your world, that's one of the symptons. With Wendyco $ you have machines to do much of your "work". By the time it gets to a human, that would start low on the salary chain. When it reaches TKA, etc, all the problems of the various conditions and co-dependencies, like DENIAL takes control. It would be a big shock if each of you were not doctor medicated on the various meds of choice, just as destructive is the "dry drunk". Even Laura has that Prozac/Paxil look, whatever it is, it's not healthy. None of you will get it, but you are heading for a train wreck with reality. If you want to predict the future, examine old patterns. Wendy will find some new ones to pick up the pieces. She'll blame and dismiss you all. Meanwhile, keep the informant robots and slaves reporting to the elite and laugh as you can. It's good for all.

10/25/2006 12:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Isn't this a conflict of interest?

Newsroom editor Scott Steepleton wrote a story about News-Press objections to a Measure D campaign mailer.

Shouldn't he now recuse himself from editing any stories involving the Measure D ballot measure so as to avoid the appearance of bias?

And will we be able to trust ANY story about Measure D from here on out, since Steepleton will likely be editing it.

Others have been threatened, and at least one person fired, for so-called "conflict of interest" issues.

Isn't Wendy violating her own policies?

10/25/2006 12:30 PM  

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