Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Two More Complaints at NLRB v. News-Press

After weeks of silence, the News-Press Mess has made the news for a few days running. Typical of damage control public relations, it all began just prior to Easter weekend when many were out of town. I guess the 97 theses the News-Press nailed to the wall last Thursday weren't worth public scrutiny.

The Independent's Santa Barbara Media Blog (SBMB) reports that two more complaints will be added to unfair labor practice charges against the News-Press at the National Labor Relations Board. The first complaint is that News-Press lawyer David Millstein and accountant Norman Colavincenzo disrupted a meeting between former reporters and advertisers at the public library. It seems Millstein took the "public" part literally and thought it was okay to bust in -- although I wonder if he has a point that the library application form states that meetings are open to the public. Still, he didn't show good form and if "public" also means "right to intimidate" in the dictionary he would have a case. As Teamster attorney Ira Gottlieb told the SBMB, the News-Press seems to "trample first, and ask questions, if at all, later". Indeed, Millstein intimated that the News-Press hasn't even begun to fight. I say they've had their chance and it is time for them to make amends and move on.

The second complaint is based on videotaping of labor rallies -- a prime way to ascertain just who your enemies are. A News-Press stalwart continues to ask in our comments section about the "purpose" of this blog. As long as the News-Press insists on making news that they themselves refuse to cover, BlogaBarbara will continue to report it next to controversies over office space in Goleta, the plight of the steelhead, etc. Nothing would make me happier than to report that a resolution to The Mess is at hand....

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Anonymous allegro805 said...

I checked the public library's website and the area about meeting rooms only has general guidelines, but also indicates that there is a fee that needs to be paid to reserve rooms. I don't feel like picking up the phone to call the library, but I'm curious to find out what the actual reservation form says in terms of whether events held in the rooms need to be "open to the public". My initial guess is no, if users are paying a rental fee for the space, but clarification of this would be interesting. Anyone want to do some basic research for 'fun'?

Also, I wish I had seen that guy with the video camera when I was at the DLG plaza rally -- I would have done everything I could to try to stand in front of his camera the whole time. I would recommend this if anyone sees people "clandestinely" videotaping or photographing future actions.

4/11/2007 8:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whether or not the public library room rental must remain "open to the public", it does not give SBNP management license to intimidate, harass and intrude upon a union meeting. There is a separate and distinct federal labor law interest in protecting employees who wish to meet in support of a union without fear of being interrupted or surveilled by hostile management. The same thing is true of photographing public rallies; management can be present, but cannot videotape. Since the objective and likely result is coercion, it doesn't matter what the locale is. It's not about property rights, it's about statutory associational rights, and that is what the NP is perpetually interfering with.

4/11/2007 9:52 PM  

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