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Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

News-Press Refuses Raises since 2006 -- is the Union the Issue? Charge Filed...

Got this from The Graphics Communications Conference of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters today:

=========Teamster Press Release=========

The Graphics Communications Conference of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters will file an unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board today against the Santa Barbara News-Press, protesting the newspaper's across-the-board unprecedented, punitive, retaliatory discontinuance of its practice of offering annual raises to its newsroom employee in 2006, the year the union organized and won an election conducted by the NLRB.

Based on information recently provided to the Union by the SBNP at the Union's request, it has come to light that newsroom employees had regularly received "annual" raises since owner-publisher Wendy McCaw purchased the newspaper in 2000, with the significant and clearly not coincidental exception of the year 2006.

"The employer told us there were pre-2006 years when no newsroom employees received annual raises, but the spread sheet the employer provided a few weeks ago at our request showed the facts to be otherwise", said Ira Gottlieb, attorney for the Union. "In every post-2000 year a large number of newsroom employees did receive annual raises, and it was only 2006 in which no one at all in the newsroom received a raise".

"We asked the News-Press at the bargaining table to explain why this was so, why we should believe this was not a change in established practice intended to retaliate for the advent of the Union, and received no explanation at all." Gottlieb added. "We had no choice but to file this charge to right this wrong."

The Union is seeking an order from the Labor Board compelling the News-Press to consider and grant annual raises to all newsroom employees who worked there in 2006.

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21 Comments:

Anonymous free country said...

You.ve got to be kidding.
A judge ordering a raise for all, whether they deserve it or not.
and whether the business is successful enough to be able to afford it or not.

Is this a free country or not?

This is socialism at it's worst!

God Damn unions!

2/20/2008 6:57 PM  
Anonymous lower Westie said...

Seiously, with all due respect to the many News Press employees who either quit or were fired, . . .

unions suck.

2/20/2008 7:13 PM  
Anonymous Don't tread on me said...

Let me get this right. The employees whine and trash the newspaper, demand every stop taking it, ask advertisers to stop advertising, watch the circulation drop significantly while they dance war hoops on its flailing body, and now demand they get raises too?

Please, if there is a god, do not let the inmates keep trying to run this asylum.

Sorry, no pity whatsoever from this quarter. Raises are voluntary until they become part of a mutually bargained for contract.

The nerve of this pack of useless employees has no end. I hope they all get canned. They are starting to think and act like public employees.

The paper remains a private enterprise and if they don't like their jobs and the pay they get and want to see the newspaper fail financially, please dear god do not reward this egregious behavior with a mandatory raise.

We can see in the future of ObamaWorld, if this one passes court muster.

2/20/2008 8:39 PM  
Blogger johnsanroque said...

I understand and agree with the commenters who don't want to the courts to say who gets a raise in a private enterprise. And I also freely admit tht I think the News-Press management has no scruples about their product or their employees.

The issue seems to be whether employees were denied a raise because of their union activism. You can't do that. I'm not saying anyone has proved it to be the case, but that's the allegation.

The fact that the News-Press management or some bloggers don't like the way labor laws work is irrelevant. Some of you who cite the legal rights of the owner need to understand that laws work both ways. The issue here is whether punitive action was taken against a pro-union group whle others got raises.

I can already hear the whining begin in this blog, but see if you can confine your whining to the issue of whether the absence of raises for newsroom employees was based on union activism. That seems to be what this case is about. It's a legal point, not an emotional one.

2/21/2008 6:32 AM  
Anonymous GO TEAMSTERS! said...

Silly union haters. This country was built by unionized work forces. God forbid those who toil to collectively profit the upper class collectively demand a few rights! GO TEAMSTERS.

And remember: you can deny employees raises, but not because they unionized. Unionizing is a legally protected right, my friends.

2/21/2008 6:33 AM  
Anonymous Look for the union libel said...

The country was destroyed by unions, after they "saved" it. Unions broke the state budget. Unions ruined the educational system.

Unions destroyed the auto industry. Unions sent thousands of jobs overseas. Unions bankrupted public agencies ability to take care of present needs in lieu of paying for future benefits.

Unions had their place in the past. They put brakes on un-fettered capitalism. But today unions over-reached, got greedy and have broken America.

Obama pandered for and got the union label. His policies and lack of internal integrity digs America's grave even deeper.

Obamaland is Custer's Last Stand of failed Liberalism. He represents the thorough corruption of the union establishment status quo while lying he is for change.

He is not. He is entrenched in special interests and has no savvy or ability to change anything.

Odd that a product of the American Drean ushers in America's Final Nightmare.

2/21/2008 9:57 AM  
Blogger George said...

I find it fascinating Obama has been dragged into all of this--why not the Blue Line too?

Please don't just spread hoary untruths like unions broke the educational system. Prop 13 did in California.

And unions sent jobs overseas? Because they wanted fair pay? Damn them, why don't they work for nothing like the folks who have no protection overseas!

Not to mention how the US auto industry fights tooth and nail to sell us big cars and trucks we don't want or need.

I almost forgot why I haven't bothered to read the comments at this blog for a long time. You might have limited the nasty snark by kicking out anonymous, Sara, but I guess there's no kicking out ignoramuses.

2/21/2008 10:46 AM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

Guess not George -- our new system will take awhile to settle in but I am glad it has been going pretty well.

I just had to deny a great comment from an anonymous...please remember to use the Name/URL (no URL or real name needed) when commenting!

2/21/2008 11:48 AM  
Anonymous Look for the Union libel said...

George, it is your sense of entitlement that destroys your argument. No one owes you a living. You work for your living.

Prop 13 did not destroy California's educational system. Plenty of money pours into the system with gold-plated benefits every day for teachers.

Unions have made teachers lives very cushy and kept us from firing the worst of them for their decades of incompetence.

That is what brought down the schools - the strangulation by the unions and their primary goal bar none: job protection regardless of outcomes or any possible accountability besides producing failing students year after year.

You are barking up the wrong tree blaming Prop 13. Prop 13 has been very good for teachers and every other public employee union member. They make a killing on public funds.

They need a reality check in the private sector to see what real people are doing ....... and producing.

SDLG, there was no reason to post someone's personal bash here, hopefully we can just stick to issues and philosophies here and get rid of the posters who only want to trash the poster personally.

2/21/2008 4:53 PM  
Blogger Bill Carson said...

Homeowners: Did you know that 65% of your property taxes go to schools? 65%. No matter how you slice it, that's a boatload of money!

2/21/2008 10:31 PM  
Anonymous Hope Annex Ann said...

Yup, Proposition 13 is *GREAT*. I pay $1,000 a year in property taxes because I inherited the tax assessment from my grandmother when whe died. I've got 3 kids in school, and for $650 a year, that is great!

My neighbor in a nearly identical home and a smaller lot has one kid and they pay $15,000 a year in property tax because they got assessed at their purchase price a year and one-half ago. So, they pay $9,750 to the schools!

I pay $217 per child each year, and they pay $9,750 per child per year for their schooling.

I love the bargain I get and particularly the way you can inherit the Proposition 13 tax assessment from your parents and grandparents.

2/22/2008 6:17 AM  
Anonymous Taxprayer said...

Bill, do you mean Prop 90 that automatically takes a percentage of state income taxes for schools?

I thought it was and automatic public 50% of income taxes mandated for schools. Don't know about 65% of property taxes going to schools also. Tell me more. Thnx.

2/22/2008 6:59 AM  
Blogger Bill Carson said...

Apparently each county is different. Check the links.

San Mateo says 65%

http://www.sanmateocountytaxcollector.org/whereYourTaxesGo.html

Santa Barbara says 49% (plus other district funding)

http://www.countyofsb.org/ttcpapg/taxdollars.asp

Still a boatload of money.

2/22/2008 9:28 AM  
Anonymous hope annex ann said...

Wow Bill, so I only pay $167/child each year for my kid's schooling, since I inherited a Prop. 13 tax assessment with my home from my Grandmother.

But my neighbor really only has to pay $7,500/child each year because he got reassessed.

That is what I love about Prop. 13, it allows clever people like me to save $95,329 over the course of my kids education because I know how the system works.

That is what government should be doing. If government could only pay for more of my lifestyle because I know how to work the system, that would be great.

And if the government would only force all those News-Press workers to work for $0.14 an hour, I could save money on my subscription! After all, folks in Africa survive on wages of $0.14 an hour, what do the News-Press reporters think, that they are better than those folks in Africa? That is pretty uppity.

Now I bet Wendy is smart enough to have never had to have the News-Press building complex itself reassessed. Smart people know how to do things like that. I bet the News-Press building complex is assessed for less than my neighbor's house!

2/23/2008 9:43 AM  
Anonymous Montecito Max said...

The anti-union freakazoids seem to have run rampant over this comment skein.

As others have already said, a company cannot lawfully change its historical practice of giving raises every year because the union comes in. That seems to be what happened. As the press release notes, the union asked the company to explain the change in policy in neutral terms, and the SBNP didn't even offer an explanation. In fact, the SBNP's assertion was that there were prior years when it didn't give annual raises, but that was not true, according to the information the SBNP provided the union. That information showed that every year until the union came in, management gave raises to the employees. So, this isn't about "free enterprise", it's about punishing employees for supporting a union, which is still illegal in this country, George Bush's efforts notwithstanding.

On the more general point about unions allegedly destroying America, au contraire, mon ami. "Look for the union libel" - the American auto industry was destroyed by short-sighted management that couldn't help itself in building gas guzzling poor quality cars, while unionized manufacturers in Europe and Japan were building more efficient desirable vehicles, still respecting the workers' right to unionize.

The middle class in this country was built and maintained by unions, and the destruction of unions, starting with Ronald Reagan, has led to the destruction of the middle class and the rise of the mega-greedy CEO. That corporate, not union, greed, has gotten us to the point where we have the highest CEO/rank and file salary ratio in the world, and I believe, in the history of this planet, and tens of millions without health insurance (unlike the other industrialized nations with stronger, less embattled unions). Greedy corporations had a lot more to do with good jobs departing and being outsourced, and it's the Wal-Marts and other corporate malefactors who are in a race to the bottom, paying Chinese and other Asian workers a few cents an hour to make their goods for export.

Back to the micro: even if you think unions are generally outmoded -- and today's corporate abuse dispels that notion, as does the fact that when asked, a majority of workers in this country say they would like to be represented by a union -- Wendy McCaw's sweatshop is in desperate need of union protection and a strong workers' voice, based on her own thoroughly demonstrated malevolence. All the rest of the social theory is irrelevant to that specific exigency.

2/23/2008 11:00 AM  
Blogger Bill Carson said...

You ought to change your name to hopeless annex ann. You completely miss the point. Tax changes such as Prop 13 are always phased-in. Older homeowners enjoy lower rates, yes, but newer homeowners little by little become the majority.....not sure why I need to explain something so elementary.

Bottom line is that schools get a TON of money especially in SB county where the median price of homes is so high. Where does it all go? I hope and pray that someone, someday initiates a full-scale investigation of the finances of the school system.

2/23/2008 11:22 AM  
Anonymous hope annex ann said...

Yes Bill, I'm able to enjoy my Grandmother's tax assessment although she bought in 1962 because that is how Prop 13 works. For us nothing was ever phased in, and it is *GREAT*.

I think my grandchildren will save several million, because of the brillance of *INHERITING PROP 13 TAX ASSESSMENTS*.

I myself will save almost $100,000 of educational costs for my children.

What a great State, where clever people like me can evade taxes and get the new folks to pay them!

MM, a race to the bottom is *THE AMERICAN WAY*. Only smarts keep you out if it. Rights? Those are for communists.

2/23/2008 1:23 PM  
Anonymous sa1 the cleverer said...

So what's so clever about you AA?

The way you work in the fact you are a homeowner who's skating on her kids education (and didn't even have to pay for a house)? or the way you denigrate a benefit of many who would lose their homes to raising prop taxes?

You can assuage your tortured guilty soul by simply writing a check to the school district and the State to make up the difference.

Or better yet, write me the check as I've never had kids in the system and I deserve a rebate!

Yeah, now that's clever. $100,000 check made out to sa1...Leave it under the coffee can near the fig tree.

2/24/2008 8:56 AM  
Anonymous hope annex ann said...

sa1, if you were really clever you'd ask someone with a lot more money than me for a check... I hear there are billionaires here in town.

Who is skating? I pay my taxes just like Prop 13 says, and that is the law.

Prop 13 just gives me a great deal, because I inherited from my grandmother.

Yup, there are loads of 30 somethings like me who'd lose their homes if they didn't get to inherit their grandparents and parents property tax assessements. Thanks for your concern for us.

If kids weren't in school they'd be in gangs spraying grafitti on your place.

2/24/2008 10:52 AM  
Blogger George said...

It seemed too hard to answer folks just in comments here, so I opted to defend teacher unions a bit over at my place.

2/25/2008 4:07 PM  
Anonymous bleed the union dry said...

I fullyagree with the person who said;
Unions suck!!

2/27/2008 2:24 PM  

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