Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Monday, March 12, 2007

NLRB Decision Upholds Union

The National Labor Relations Board finally announced their decision today which was to support the Graphics Communications Conference of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters election held at the Santa Barbara News-Press on September 27th of last year. According to Craig Smith's blog, Judge Schmidt decided that the News-Press objections (one of which involved a comment on BlogaBarbara) did not warrant overturning the election. Collective bargaining should begin immediately -- is there an appeal process, however, that Ampersand Publishing could use to delay this even further? I hope not.


Anonymous dd said...

I think it's a safe bet WM will use further obstructionist tactics in order to fire as many of the "old" employees in retaliation. JMHO dd

3/12/2007 6:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is bad news! The dust was just beginning to settle. Looks like we're going to get more fireworks.

3/12/2007 6:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just read the entire ruling, a direct link is available on the website. It's great. Judge Schmidt discredited Travis Armstrong, due to Armstrong's self-serving embellishments and conflicting testimony during the hearing.
Makes one question Armstrong's editorial credibility, too, doesn't it?

At the bottom of the document is the provision for exceptions to be filed within 14 days. I'll take that to mean protests. So yes, Ampersand could very well keep delaying the collective bargaining process.

3/12/2007 6:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks one more SDLG for giving us News of our community. Sure wish we had a daily newspaper that gave us local news. Seems the internet is the only way to get any real news in Santa Barbara.

3/12/2007 6:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe the NP will move to Dubai.

3/12/2007 7:02 PM  
Anonymous David Pritchett said...

As I can find the NewsPress nearly nowhere except in the paper recycling bin of my octogenarian neighbor, later this week I look forward to reading the full-page ads that the NewsPress publishes on its own pages in a pathetic attempt to explain and spin how the Cabal of Union Thugs is really Out To Get Them with all their Bias and Speech Suppression.

Think of all the actual, original local news articles that could be published instead on that same page of spin and propaganda. Even some photo fillers would be nice... even if only seen by the recycling processors at Mario's Big House.

Time for a new Blogabarbara posting as a contest for what lame excuse can Ampersand make up THIS TIME as a reason for appealing to NLRB again to delay contract negotiations.

3/12/2007 7:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Heaven help us if this makes Wendy want to sell the NP to Sara McCune. Might as well print out the engraved invitation to all the homeless to tell them the door is now wide open to come live in Santa Barbara.

Hold the line, Wendy. You are finally doing this city some good with your anti-growth editorial policy. Don't let those prior biased reporters sell us out again. Please. This is serious. I don't know how else to reach you, and I understand you and the Nip out there cruising again.

3/12/2007 7:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can't wait to see how the SBNP spins this decision. I don't think it can easily ignore it, especially since it did cover the hearing. But the judge flat out calls Travis and Steepleton liars (without using the "l" word), calls its lawyer's arguments unreliable and "wildly inflated", thoroughly destroys every position the NP took, and then demolishes arguments the NP might have taken if it had thought of 'em. So, if Wendy does appeal, she will look that much more like she's totally oblivious, and that may get the NLRB even more inflamed and poised to take aggressive action. Stay tuned!

3/12/2007 7:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds to me the only thing the NP employees actually won was the privilege of now paying the Teamsters union dues.

How much are the union dues a month/year?

3/12/2007 7:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I see that Wendy's spin-meisters are alive and well and spinning on this latest event. Since it is difficult for them to claim that the Judge in this case is part of the so-called cabal, they turn to warn us that this could mean the homeless, induced by Sarah McCune (?) and the union are the real winners.

Wendy and her cohorts are a sad bunch and no amount of spinning will help her save face.

How sad that she is against the war in Iraq but continues to wage war against the journalists and the community. As we used to say during the Viet Nam war, "Fighting for peace is like F__-ing for chastity."

3/12/2007 8:26 PM  
Anonymous shaggy said...

The Wendy could announce that she is appealing, but from the pictures I've seen, she really is not. So sue me.

3/12/2007 9:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sarah McCune has already induced the homeless to come here. This is not NewsPress spin.

Silly. And it would only happen if Wendy, not unreasonably, sells the paper now, just like she, not unreasonably, allegedly withdrew her significant donation to the Granada Theater project.

Don't blame her for not wanting to play with a group of treacherous fellow donors. Gheesh, it is appropriate she gets to choose where, who and how she spends her money.

Its not fun to make major millon dollar gifts and then get kicked in the teeth. I'd take my money and run too.

And this is not NewsPress spin. It is just good manners and common sense. Sure hope McCune steps up to make up the difference. Her comments at the NewsPress dinner were inappropriate.

3/12/2007 9:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sarah McCune has already induced the homeless to come here. This is not NewsPress spin.

Name me any other place in which comments like this would be acceptable.

At least the homeless have legitimate reasons for living in their own world...

3/13/2007 12:51 AM  
Anonymous jqb said...

This is bad news!

Not for anyone with character, courage, and conscience.

Sounds to me the only thing the NP employees actually won was the privilege of now paying the Teamsters union dues.

It doesn't sound that way to anyone with character, courage, and conscience.

This is not NewsPress spin.

No one with character, courage, and conscience would make that or any of your other claims.

3/13/2007 1:36 AM  
Anonymous pig lipstick said...

And this is not NewsPress spin. It is just good manners and common sense.

Good manners and common sense would suggest that one not:

-- Destroy a 160-year-old institution out of spite and petty vindictiveness;

-- Attempt to ruin Jerry Roberts with a $25 million lawsuit (again for spite);

-- Wage war on your employees in the form of intimidation and smear campaigns.

I could go, of course, but you get the idea.

Wendy has shown not a trace of class or dignity. If she's your idea of someone with "good manners and common sense," you deserve one another.

3/13/2007 8:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

7:17 and 9:57, re Miller McCune "induc(ing) the homeless to come here": how stupid!!!

Sure, in this town being rich equates to being powerful, able to buy pretty much anything one wants, but it doesn't buy the good winter weather and the US Constitution which guarantees the right to travel.... Nor, unfortunately, Ms McCaw must rue, does it buy a-kissing by everyone, but only a hungry few.

3/13/2007 8:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

9:57 The homeless have been drawn to SB for as long as I've lived here which is almost 40 years.

As far as WM renegging on her pledge to the Granada of course its her money and she can do what she wants but it doesn't make her look good.

3/13/2007 8:51 AM  
Anonymous allegro805 said...

Is it too much to ask for comments to be on-topic; i.e., if this is a post about the NLRB ruling, is that really the place to talk about gifts to the Granada theater, Sara McCune's alleged homeless-philia, etc.? Seriously, how about some judicious self-editing, people?

Anyway, back ON TOPIC: This ruling by NLRB seems like the only logical outcome, based on reports of the testimony at the hearing. However, as others have mentioned, Ampersand is content to jump through as many hoops as possible to delay the process as long as possible. I believe one calls these "dilatory tactics"? As George mentioned on I'm Not One to Blog, " long as there are lawyers willing to cash Wendy's checks to keep arguing these cases..." (paraphrased).

Let's just hope NLRB doesn't take two months to rule on the additional grievances that have been filed; at this point the hearings have been postponed indefinitely. Others have asked if NLRB normally moves this slowly. Let's hope Melinda Burns and others actually have the financial resources to wait this out. I'm secretly hoping that they get reinstated and receive their back pay and then quit the next day.

Can any legal expert comment on whether any monetary damages could also be awarded in a separate civil suit related to any of these firings, after the NLRB rules that they were unjustified? I'm just curious.

3/13/2007 9:55 AM  
Anonymous allegro805 said...

One more thing, and sorry if this hypocritically seems off-topic:

I was wondering as I walked downtown to work this beautiful morning how Wendy & Co. really feel about the "legacy" they are leaving and the reputation they are building in town. Would you want to be thought of and written about like this? She has the wherewithal and resources to be a magnificent force for goodwill in this community. I know not EVERYONE hates her, but the truth is that she is generating a whole lot of ill-will here "at home" (assuming she considers this her "home") and also racking up a whole lot of bad press nationally and internationally. I mean seriously, I'm sure she is a laughing stock to the journalism community (yes, even to journalism owners and management).

I know you'll "never please everyone," but the level of rancor this has generated is really beyond the scope of anything this town has seen, isn't it?

It's hard psychologically to look at our own blind spots and failings, but I just wondering if there's some part of McCaw that would genuinely like to turn this around and be a force for good here. And no, I don't mean jettisoning all her personal values and "letting the inmates run the asylum" (poor analogy, but you know what I mean). Many people have proven that you can run a business with a strong hand but still retain integrity and respect, both of which seem in short supply at that end of DeLaGuerra Plaza.

The truth is, I think many of us really want that -- we want to see a Wendy McCaw that we can embrace as one of our own, and as a benevolent philanthropist and respectable business owner, even if she has some ideas that we don't all agree with. Unless she really doesn't mind being cast in this combative role; maybe that's how she gets her kicks. I just can't imagine it would be very fun. It actually seems quite sad, to revel somehow in being hated and taking a "me against the world" attitude.

It just seems a real shame that McCaw has built this wall/moat around herself and is cementing the evil reputation bit by bit. It didn't have to be this way, and it's disingenuous (not to mention immature) to just lay the blame on "insubordinate" "malcontents."

3/13/2007 10:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The only reason you think this is a major news story is because you lost your job. It is not a major news story. And the NewsPress is perking right along without you. Continuing to kill innocent people in Iraq using our name is a major news story. Not the loss of your job. What narcissisim.

3/13/2007 10:43 AM  
Anonymous jqb said...

Others have asked if NLRB normally moves this slowly.


Representatives Christopher Shays (R-CT) and Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ) introduced legislation this week that would speed up the reviewing and decision-making process of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). The NLRB Reform Act will end the NLRB’s common practice of a multi-year adjudication.

It apparently never made it out of the Subcommitee on Employer-Employee Relations.

3/13/2007 10:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

All Wendy has to do is recognize a union bargaining unit, rather than dealing with individual employees or groups of employees.

This is a non-issue in any practical terms with a company this small.

The real, still pending issue is job-reinstatement issue and that is a loooooooong way off, if ever.

This current ruling is a non-issue because Wendy was already paying competitive salaries.

Wendy as a self-professed Libertarian would of course oppose this unionization action in any legal way possible. This should not have surprised anyone. I don't blame her for fighting it. But I do blame those criticizing her that this shows she has some pathological personality defect.

Just the opposite, she is showing the courage to act on her own beliefs. Which is the rallying cry I keep hearing from the fired/resigned former employees. Gee, did you know you all had something this important in common? Meditate on this.

So now it will be a non-issue to actually enter into collective bargaining with this newly formed bragaining unit.

Stay tuned for the job reinstatement hearing because that is going to be a heck of a lot messier in terms of proof and subjective/objective fact assessment.

This current ruling was a no-brainer. And the judicial officer was unjudicial inserting so much bias and subjective comment into his ruling.

He did not serve the necessary neutrality of his office. He came across as someone who loved to pick wings off of flies, petty and mean-spirited.

And to unfortunately reach that conclusion about our legal justice system is really the scariest part of this entire hearing.

But Judge Diana Hall already knows this about our judiciary system. They screwed her too.

3/13/2007 11:05 AM  
Anonymous sa1 said...

Great Post Allegro,

I wouldn't be a bit surprised if Ms M reads or cares little of what is said about her. Her form of turning the other cheek perhaps. She does have a right to oppose but not hinder union formation in her company. There are many pros and cons on this issue and might be a topic of discussion. I have worked in a union before, so I have my own bias on the subject.

Obviously, throwing daggers at her is going nowhere. Maybe it's time both sides start talking like respectful adults with olive branches in hand. SBNP would be making a big mistake at this point to continue the vitriol in light of this decision.

I've noticed various efforts on her part to work for the good of the community (County Bowl for example) and it would be a shame to permanently alienate a resource such as this. Ms M. needs an attitude adjustment for sure, but that is a double edge remedy that can start now.

3/13/2007 11:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

sa1 for Mayor!

3/13/2007 12:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't imagine a more hostile and uncomfortable working environment than reinstating those who have so maliciously blogged here against the boss they claim they want to go back and work for.

You are right. It is time for a little humility on both (all?) sides; not increased hubris.

3/13/2007 12:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

First attitude adjustment is: you boss - me employee.

Second: how can we make each other happy?

Third: me boss - you employee.

Fourth: I hope we can all be happy.

3/13/2007 12:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

805; Most of this mess is better viewed through a prism of history. Wendy & Co already think they bought the ink and they want blogs now. NLRB ruling isn't news because it's been obvious when justice and truth prevail the rulings are victorious for hard working truthseekers.

Who can or will say what condition Wendy is in now? In theory, I do believe there is a mental health concern. Possibly medications effect that condition? I don't see McCaw backing off from what she's set in motion. Assuming she's still much of a participant in her own life. In a recent statement, Barry Cappello said he hadn't met her. Dr. Laura wrote, she met her once, the Awards at Biltmore? Does she regulary go to work and in what condition? She shops with Wiesenberger for food. She does charity events now? Everything is cloaked from the commoners.

As an owner she has some right to whatever she can get by with. As an individual she may need better medical care. While tabloids have a negative reputation they have helped people at times. Anna Nicole's life was a tabloid microscope view and yet it will take a long time to get answers. Did she have lupis or did her lover do a Rasputin type healing? For the-to-good-for-tabloid-crowd, tabloid fills a need in secretive times, get use to it. People realizing Britney has medical problems are giving her a break. Our Britney is playing business owner, events and her PR is all the commoners have. A person, Wendy McCaw, isn't there for most of us. All I know of her early life is she covered it up. When her so-called supporters (how would I know if you're not just protecting your own finances?) can help a human being emerge, there can be better response to the mess on both sides. Now we have alot of secrets, a few events, slow legal process, a little news, and a growing TABLOID to reflect on what history will record. Largely, N-P is obsolete in the Wendy & Co era. As long as old T.M. is coming into one person's dreams, the history will live and a fierce vigor to carry on.

3/13/2007 1:37 PM  
Anonymous jqb said...

the judicial officer was unjudicial inserting so much bias and subjective comment into his ruling.

There's no bias evident in the ruling, and judging is inherently subjective. One thing that judges (and juries) must do is evaluate the credibility of witnesses; here, the judge did so based on the facts before him, not impressions.

3/15/2007 8:07 AM  

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