Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Friday, May 16, 2008

Teamster Letter Responds to McCaw

. . . this is the letter (as reported in the press) . . .

Dated: May 13, 2008 (delivered May 14, 2008)

Dear Newsroom Employee,

I am writing with regard to the recent layoffs and accompanying letter from the Publisher. Sadly, though not unexpectedly, the Publisher refuses to accept any responsibility for the continued decline of readers and revenue at the Santa Barbara News-Press that she claims has forced her to layoff employees.

Instead, she attributes these losses in part, to the Teamsters’ call for subscribers to cancel the paper and what she characterizes as the incessant litigation over unfounded charges causing the expenditure of significant economic resources. Interestingly, in the middle of the summer of 2006, the paper published a vicious (and on many points, blatantly inaccurate) editorial denying that the Teamsters’ efforts had had any impact. Similarly, at the time of the unlawful firings of six newsroom employees, the News-Press claimed that “The paper is doing fine. In fact, it is doing much better since the changes in the newsroom.”

Her public comments at various times indicate that depending on the identity of her audience, Mrs. McCaw tends to blame the decline in readership to whatever cause suits her, be it the condition of the industry, the Union or certain individuals who she perceives as adversaries. It should be noted that since the negotiations began there have been no rallies, media ads, or press conferences called for the specific purpose of encouraging subscriber to cancel their subscriptions. This is not by accident; this is by design.

I have discussed with Teamsters campaign people the need to give the negotiations process a chance to succeed (without distraction) in the event the Publisher demonstrates she is serious about bargaining. Unfortunately, the Publisher has not shown the least bit of interest in trying to reach an agreement that would address employees concerns. I will meet again soon with the campaign strategists to review available options that may move the negotiations forward.

I am still trying to understand how someone can be repeatedly found guilty of “unfounded charges.” I have informed News-Press Management on several occasions that they will be held accountable for what they say and do. If they break the law, they take the chance that it will cost money in litigation. The simple solution is: Obey the Law.

The Publisher’s letter also fails to mention that much of her legal expenses are related to taking, or threatening to take legal action against anyone and everyone who oppose her viewpoints, including local businesses, authors of articles critical of how she runs her newspaper and competitor publications. What appears to be obvious to everyone but the Publisher is that many of the misfortunes at the Santa Barbara News-Press appear to be the result of mismanagement at the top, including a disregard for the employees’ interests. In a competitive News Industry it is critical that responsible cost cutting be paired with wise investments to retain and attract readers.

So let’s look at the Santa Barbara News-Press owner’s track record over the past few years. She began by increasingly interjecting her opinions on how news should be reported with the Management Staff at the paper after publicly promising to allow the professionals to do their jobs. Failing to convince those professionals that she knew better, the owner decided to act as Publisher with her companion serving as co-publisher. Shortly afterward several staff resigned in protest over her meddling in the reporting of news and the discipline of employees deemed to have disobeyed nonexistent rules.

In the months that followed many more staff and employees were either terminated because they were perceived as disloyal or incompetent by the Publisher despite the fact that many were recognized by the industry and regularly won awards for their accomplishments, or were driven out because they could no long tolerate the working conditions. The recent layoff further depletes the pool of experienced, competent staff. Some positions in the newsroom have not been replaced while others are being filled with long-term “temporary” workers with no employee benefits, though they perform bargaining unit work.

The decisions made thus far by the current Management haven’t exactly panned out for the Santa Barbara News-Press. If the owner is unwilling or unable to acknowledge she has made mistakes, she cannot learn from them. At some point she must recognize that situation has gotten far worse, not better under the current ownership/management at the paper and she is ultimately responsible. The release of experienced, competent and respected employees and managers is not the model of a successful business plan. Escorting these individuals out the door without a fair severance package should be considered an embarrassment, not a sound business decision.

Having the employees and staff fear your wrath is not the same as having them respect your judgment. If the top Management cannot see these distinctions, something is seriously wrong.

The decisions made to date do not exactly inspire confidence in the Publisher’s ability or desire to do the right thing. If it is her intention to run the Santa Barbara News-Press into the ground because she prefers to fight every fight, rather than to do what is right, she can pursue that option and there is not much anyone can do about it.

On the other hand, if she truly wants to re-establish the Santa Barbara News-Press to its former prominence the Union is willing to listen and work collaboratively. We have expressed these sentiments several times throughout the negotiations. However, at this time Management is not winning friends at the table or in the newsroom with its proposals and overall approach. While we are willing to work collaboratively if the sentiment is reciprocated, we have shown that we are not afraid to fight to improve the situation in the News-Press Newsroom. The Committee believes it is not too late turn things around should the Publisher conclude that is what she wants. The ball is in her court. If you have questions or concerns, please feel free to call me.

Sincerely, Nicholas D. Caruso, International Representative GCC/IBT CC: Union Committee


Anonymous Wendy W. Bush said...

Why do you hate America?

5/16/2008 10:11 AM  
Anonymous Boil and Bubble, Toil and Trouble said...

The way I read it, the more the union lawyer keeps stirring up faux issues, the longer he gets to stay in Santa Barbara.

This guy is not stupid. Who else would rather be re-assigned to New Jersey, when he can keep the pot boiling right here in paradise.

Yawn. Maybe with enough time, he will too become laid back and give all this a rest.

5/16/2008 10:32 AM  
Blogger spitfire squid said...

I wonder if the publisher is trying to clean house of longtime employees in other departments who might also want union representation.

5/16/2008 6:37 PM  
Anonymous Boil, bubble and burp said...

Faux issues? I didn't realize the nation's labor laws and the National Labor Relations Board were faux legislation and a faux government agency.

Silly me.

5/16/2008 10:16 PM  
Anonymous There will be blood said...

A damning indictment of McCaw's "leadership".

She'd like a strike, so she can dump who she has left and bring in scabs.

5/16/2008 10:30 PM  
Anonymous Rod King said...

If Wendy cared about the quality of the paper -- something that can't be improved without the cooperation of her staff, no matter how much she whines and stamps her feet -- she'd treat her employees with respect, and discuss the important issues of how to make the paper better with them. She has refused to do that, and shame on her. She lies about letting the professionals do their jobs, because she wants to make sure that Mayor Blum and the rest of McCaw's enemies in City government get trashed, that the coyotes are protected even as they chew on babies and cats, and that we pull up the ladder behind us to make sure no immigrants are knocking on SB's door. For this, she's brought down what was a wonderful, though not perfect paper, and a great place to work. There will always be friction and cross-talk in a newsroom, there will always be politics, but there doesn't have to be fear and loathing, there doesn't have to be management that goes far beyond maintaining its prerogatives and only manages to cut off its nose to spite its face. It's sad, but it can be turned around, if McCaw is not merely fazed by her mounting legal bills (which have gained her nothing positive), but by the unfairness, and bullheadedness, of what she's wrought. Believe it or not, collective bargaining can work very well in a newsroom, precisely because news reporting is by its nature a collaborative effort, requiring the cooperation and synchronization of many in the reporting and writing process. Wendy wants to be able to control the news, but she can't, because it's a physical and mental impossibility for anyone. Reporters go get the stories, and some of them originate with those reporters. The reporters then write and are edited, so how can reporters not, to some extent, literally "write what they want when they want", notwithstanding the feigned indignance of the Cappellos of the world when they use that phrase? And how could it not help to have productive, bilateral discussions about the process and its consequences? It's a shame and a disgrace that in the year 2008 we have to ask these questions about presumably intelligent, well-educated literate individuals running a newspaper in a prosperous, thoughtful and conscious community.

5/16/2008 11:09 PM  
Anonymous Smell the coffee said...

Boil and bubble, the union lawyer was not the author of this letter. It was written by the Union's negotiator. And the issues are not "faux", but are offshoots of what this fight has been about since the beginning.

5/16/2008 11:12 PM  
Anonymous Glenda, the Good Witch said...

What this issue has been about all along is a bunch of whining, abusive employees demanding they get their way and screw the owner. And that ain't no labor code issue. That is patent arrogance. Be done with them.

Until the courts tell Wendy otherwise, it is her paper and she can create a lot healthier of a work environment ......for herself ... than the chamber of horrors her past employees created for her.

They were intentionally running at cross purposes to her and her editorial philosophy. And no amount of continued whining and misrepresentation is going to undo that.

So now, stop making threatening phone calls to NP advertisers. You guys are creepy.

5/17/2008 6:30 AM  
Anonymous Wake up, Nick said...

The mistake the union man makes is assuming the Publisher is rational, that she wants “to turn things around.”

She isn’t and doesn’t. She’s burning down the house to prove it’s hers. The sycophants around her won't enlighten her since she'll cut them off the gravy train.

5/17/2008 6:56 AM  
Anonymous Tempus fugit said...

The NewsPress is not "burning down". It is doing just fine.

Great columns. Good local calendar. Nice features. Invigorating editorial page. Loyal readers.

And hold on to your socks, just hired a new investigative reporter. The 4th Estate is again live and well in Santa Barbara.

And the best benefit is we are now back to being a multi-choice news town. If you don't want to read the NewsPress, you don't have to. So give up your whining about it.

Get your Daily Sound home delivered. Pick up your weekly Independent and you won't have to irritate yourself any further about your deep seated hatred of the NewsPress owner.

You deserve a better life than looking for things to keep hating her for.

5/17/2008 6:36 PM  
Anonymous Rod King said...

Glenda, get real. You sound like some of the other ignoramuses who used to post here, talking about "labor codes". Amazing that you can call the reporters "arrogant", and stranger still, calling Wendy's thought process an "editorial philosophy". What she's done is talk about ethics while practicing something else. If you asked her, she'd say that she was following the Storkian principle of not fearing or favoring friend or foe; but that means not kowtowing to advertisers (or potential advertisers), social friends, the editorial page editor, or politicians she does or doesn't like, but instead, to treat them all equally and fairly. But her own writings and testimony and behavior have shown she believes and wants her reporters to bend to her politics, regardless of the facts and the truth. That implicates both the paper's, and yes, the individual reporters' integrity, and so those reporters have a right to make themselves heard. So does the community.

Wake up, Nick, I understand why anyone would question the publisher's rationality, or for that matter, the rationality of anyone who treats her as rational, or capable of arriving at that plateau. Aside from the fact that the union has little choice, there are occasional signs that Wendy does have some respect for cause and effect, and there may be reason to believe there will be more such revelations down the road. So, as long and dreary as this process has sometimes been, there are more exciting and dramatic chapters still to come. And the community can play a constructive role.

5/17/2008 6:58 PM  
Anonymous What me worry said...

Tempus, what flavor Kool-Aid are you drinking? I noticed one thing you didn't mention in your description of the circulation-challenged SBNP's better qualities: news reporting. Oh, but we don't really need that, as long as we know how the British Royals, the yachting set, and the anti-gay hypermoralistic warlike cabal are faring, right?

5/17/2008 11:06 PM  
Anonymous Mother Newman said...

Alfred E.

You forgot to mention the old "news reporting" that infected the former NP was nothing more than one-sided propaganda pieces for the feel good socialist crowd.

That was not news reporting; that was hijacking a local paper for a personal agenda.

Declining circulation of the NewsPress is no worse than any other local daily. Even the LA Times had massive layoffs. Is your flawed and biased report your best example of "news reporting"?

Need to rethink your own agenda. Because it is not journalism you are practicing here. You are a tabloid artist and you had no place at the NP ...ever.

5/18/2008 6:55 AM  
Anonymous the "news"-press said...

Tempus forgetaboutit, yes, you forgot to mention "news." Remember that?

During the last couple of years, mostly due to managerial incompetence, a huge chunk of your “loyal readers” have left, put off by the sordid spectacle.

Thanks for bringing the Teamsters to town.

5/18/2008 8:39 AM  
Anonymous Lucy in the Sky said...

Mother newman, whatever you call yourself, your crystal ball or x-ray eyes need repair. I have never worked for the NP. Your characterization of the news reporting -- and you should gird yourself, because the discriminatees illegally fired by the NP are coming back -- is wildly, indeed, radically skewed. Sounds like you've laced your own Kool-Aid with a little LSD. And people like you who make those pronouncements don't understand how news reporting and writing works, because a reporter's "agenda", if it really existed and was presented by the reporter, would never see the light of day without management's approval. The truth is, what caused this paper's current troubles is Wendy's fake claims of abiding by ethical rules while in reality demanding that the reporting adhere to her agenda (e.g., sucking up to actual and potential advertisers and her friends, aiming venom at her enemies, and not just on the editorial pages where opinion belongs), on pain of the reporters' loss of integrity and job security, and ultimately the damaging of the paper's integrity.

And it appears that the SBNP's circulation has taken a precipitous drop that is beyond that which could be explained by the ill fortunes facing all newspapers, as even management seems to admit. That makes sense since the other local papers are either actually increasing, or at least not decreasing at the same rate.

5/18/2008 9:19 AM  
Anonymous Mr. Moreno said...

For you Wendy apologists, how do you square her firing longtime dedicated employees without notice, severance or a shred of decency? Where's the morality of perp-walking people who have been loyal to the paper for nearly 30 years?

You can lie all you want about the quality of the N-P, its death spiral in circulation and the "socialist" leanings of the reporters, but nobody can deny that her treatment of these good people is anything other than evil and amoral.

What she's done is simply terrorism -- calculated acts of venality intended to show that she can ruin whoever works for her.

That anyone would defend such a wretch boggles the mind.

5/18/2008 5:02 PM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

I'm not sure I like the use of the word terrorism the way people are so sensitive to it these days Mr. Moreno...I'll take it as a metaphor for what she has done to journalism in Santa Barbara?

I know these comments can bring some passion to many of us....and can respect that, but let's be careful of our choice words. A poor wretch like me, for instance, might get the wrong idea :)

5/18/2008 5:58 PM  
Anonymous Davy Crockitt said...

Moreno, you sound like working for the NewsPress was a government job. It isn't and it wasn't.

It was a private industry job and subject to the same things most private industry employees face: at will employment.

If you want cradle to grave employee coddling, you need to get a public sector job. Only jobs paid for with taxpayer money let you get paid for doing whatever you want to do, instead of what the boss wants you to do.

5/18/2008 6:27 PM  
Anonymous Reality Check is in the Mail said...

The terrorist win only if you let them scare you. You may need to rethink your fear threshold and act accordingly.

If you want cradle to grave job security and total control over what, when, where and how you do your work: work for yourself.

5/18/2008 6:29 PM  
Anonymous It's lack of human decency said...

"Where's the morality of perp-walking people who have been loyal to the paper for nearly 30 years?"

Well said, Mr. Moreno.

It's not about "employment at will" or who owns what.

It's about the morality of one who seems to treat people worse than animals.

5/18/2008 7:56 PM  
Anonymous Mr. Moreno said...

Miriam-Webster defines "terrorism" as "the systematic use of terror especially as a means of coercion."

Sorry, Sara, but just because we've been spoon-fed paranoia for nearly eight years by the Bush administration doesn't mean we have to abandon reason or the English language. Wendy clearly has used terrorism to coerce and intimidate her employees and anyone who would disagree with her.

Let's be clear: This is not about having tenure-esque lifetime job security or any other BS; it's about treating people decently.

It's about ruining people like Bob Klinger and Jobie Elkins, who spent at least half their lives in the quiet pursuit of making the News-Press a good newspaper. They were folks who did whatever they were asked because they cared about the paper and the people with whom they worked.

And how were they rewarded for their efforts? Yolanda Apodaca showed up at their desks and they were marched from the building like criminals. You tell me, you Wendy apologists, how that was right or moral. You tell me how any human being could rationalize such depraved indifference to any standard of decency.

That behavior, Sara -- destroying the livelihoods of good people who have done nothing more than give their all -- is terrorism.

5/18/2008 10:34 PM  
Anonymous Nanette said...

Davy, Reality Check, do you really think it's all about what Wendy can get away with? If you work for someone for 30 years, is there no loyalty extending from the employer to the employee, or is it only one way? As for her legal positions, they haven't been faring too well, and I don't think the next set of decisions on the way are going to improve her position.

Do bosses not have to "play by the rules" merely because they own something? Is that really the way you think this country is run, let alone whether it should be run this way? You Wendy defenders seem to think the only "right" employees have is to leave.

Guess again.

5/18/2008 11:32 PM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

mr. moreno -- thanks for the follow up. I see what you are saying, feel the same but am clear that at times this stuff needs to be made clear as you did so well...

5/19/2008 5:19 AM  
Anonymous Namaster said...

Correction bozos: you were not loyal to Wendy for 30 years.

You showed her no loyalty for 30 years. You worked for a private enterprise that changed owners.

You spent your time with Wendy trying to undermine everything she was trying to do. You showed her no loyalty at all.

The institution of the NewsPress is not a stand alone entity that owes you anything. You were employees and you had a new boss.

And it became very apparent that neigther of you liked each other very much. Things changed and you simply cannot accept that. So no, 30 years of "loyalty" (aka - getting your way) counts for nothing when you are an employee.

I fail to understand why this is so hard for you to understand. You had a new boss and you did not please her. The loss is yours for not understanding the game had changed.

No one "owes" you anything when you are an employee. (Yada, yada, yada - labor rules ,etc) Not even common decency, as you define it.

You were the one who chose not to fit into the new NewsPress. As an employee, this was your new loyalty and you dishonored it.

You owe yourself the ability to shift gears when life changes. You seem stuck in a very dependency notion of life. This is not serving you well as you cannot move past this very normal change of circumstances.

I don't see much loyalty shown Wendy when you have potty mouth screamers becoming the new public face for NewsPress loyalty. Get over yourselves.

And stop making threatening phone calls to Newspress advertisers.

5/19/2008 7:00 AM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

Ummm, terrorists or bozos, let's take it a bit easier on both sides of the issue!

5/19/2008 7:41 AM  
Anonymous Mr. Moreno said...

I believe the ill-informed rant from Namaster pretty much validates my point about the lack of decency from the Wendy camp, but I need to clarify an important point.

Bob Klinger (29 years at the NP) and Jobie Elkins (25 years) had nothing to do with the newsroom union. They worked in production and were never involved in any protests of any kind. They were simply good, hard-working people who did their jobs.

Firing them without a shred of compassion or decency was wrong and cruel, and no amount of invective can change that.

5/19/2008 8:37 AM  
Anonymous Maybe she should try... said...

...a loyalty oath.

I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the queendom of Wendy Mccaw against all enemies, perceived and real; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to her ideals and goals, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties upon which I am demanded to perform, even if they be unreasonable, unethical or illegal.

5/19/2008 3:04 PM  
Anonymous Skywalker said...

Namaster, Wendy lied. Face the music, buddy. She claimed that she was going to hire professionals and let 'em do their jobs, she announced publicly she was going to stay out of news reporting, over and over. She also said she welcomed discussion and collaboration, but that turned out to be more lies. She didn't do what she promised she would, and maybe she never had any intention of doing it. If she weren't just making empty promises to the community that would be called fraud.

She decided that pleasing her advertisers and political friends and hurting her enemies -- through news reporting, not merely editorializing -- was what she wanted. This violates ethical rules that have existed for most of the last century and which Thomas Storke had the audacity to put on his masthead. And she committed those violations while promising not to do so. What do you call that, namaster?

And she took another step and attacked, defamed, threatened and arbitrarily disciplined her staff which, since it placed employees' integrity and job security in jeopardy, caused the employees to call for the aid of a union. When the union successfully organized her newsroom staff, she stepped up her coercive and illegal attacks on them, and hence violated labor law. That has so far been the NLRB's conclusion, over and over.

When an employee goes to work for an employer, the expectation is that the employer will abide by the law, and abide by the promises she makes. When she violates the former, she must be haled into the appropriate legal forum and prosecuted accordingly. When she violates the latter, there may be a legal remedy, or at the very least, she can be made to pay through community chastening.

As for "threats", dollars to donuts the "threats" are in your (and/or your master's) imagination. After all, Wendy and her representatives have proven that they consider it a "threat" or "vandalism" or "disloyalty" when:

1. She gets leafletted and/or requested not to harass and engage in legal stalling tactics;
2. Someone says something in public with which she disagrees;
3. Someone with whom she disagrees physically stands within 100 feet of her;
4. Someone admonishes her to obey the law;
5. Someone peacefully and lawfully encourages and/or seeks to peacefully persuade others not to do business with her enterprise; or
6. Her employees organize to protect themselves against her otherwise unfettered wrath for doing any of the above.

Meanwhile, she can continue to threaten people with expensive litigation, and lay them off, and threaten to fire them, and bargain in bad faith, and break her "promises", seemingly with impunity as far as the namasters of the world are concerned.


5/19/2008 5:53 PM  
Anonymous Namaster said...

So sue Wendy for breach of promise, skywalker. Where are your cojones?

Instead all you do is malign her under anonymous cover and encourage hatefilled anonymous phone calls to NP advertisers.

No wonder people like you no longer work for the NP.

5/19/2008 7:41 PM  
Anonymous denizen said...

namaster, Wendy is getting her litigation chops busted aplenty, with more to come, as long as she keeps violating the law and defending herself with liars and rascals. You might try extracting your nose from her posterior, if it's not too deeply embedded. The unpolluted ethical employee-dignified air is a lot more refreshing.

5/19/2008 10:24 PM  
Anonymous ad hoc said...

well said, denizen.

5/20/2008 11:55 AM  
Anonymous namaster said...

denizen, be sure to pick up your food stamps application when you claim your moral victory.

5/20/2008 11:42 PM  
Anonymous clemente said...

namaster, I'd rather die on my feet fighting than live on my knees, worshipping a corrupt, dishonest, self-delusional, egotistical, harsh, cruel and vacuous idol as you do.

5/21/2008 6:31 AM  
Anonymous Namaster said...

clemente, hating Wendy as much as you does run your life. You are down on your knees over her. Let it go. She is still running your life. Let it go.

Find a new thing to get you up in the morning besides worshipping your hatred of Wendy.

I doubt she cares any more about what you do or say. You are only worshiping yourself in the mirror by hating. You are wasting a lot of precious time in your own precious life.

Hate kills the hater. God bless you. I wish for a moment of grace in your life where you can get your power and autonomy back again.

5/21/2008 4:48 PM  
Anonymous clemente said...

namaster, first y'all tell people they have no right to battle the unjust boss, then when you lose that argument, you psychoanalyze and resort to pity and pathos. I would say despise is a more apt word than hate, but that's only because Wendy has actually done despicable things. Over and over. But this isn't about hate, or personal feelings; it's about justice, and that takes time. But thanks for the good wishes.

5/21/2008 9:57 PM  
Blogger spitfire squid said...

"You are only worshipping yourself in the mirror by hating. You are wasting a lot of precious time in your own precious life. Find a new thing to get you up in the morning besides worshipping your hatred..."


Perhaps you could share your advice with Wendy McCaw and Travis Armstrong, who both could benefit from it.

5/22/2008 1:05 AM  
Anonymous Namaster said...

spitfire, I seriously doubt Wendy gets up in the morning and blogs her hatred towards her former employees every single day like you do. I kind of, sort of think she has moved well beyond all this.

She is fighting all this legally not for personal revenge (like you are) but for private property principles. I support her continued legal actions in this regard.

Peace, spitfire. Let go of your daily dose of hatred and take that important energy to get your life back on track and regain your own independence now that you have moved on from your time at the Newspress.

5/22/2008 7:36 AM  
Anonymous clemente said...

namaster, Wendy's malicious intent, expressed through her lawyers and management helpers speaks volumes. Why is it that among all the wealthy property and business owners in this town, it is her enterprise from which employees flee, which the community reviles? Why is it that her main avatars are found to be liars by neutral judges? Why does one of her lawyers think "cease and desist" letters are a form of dialogue? Why does she have to trample the rights of others, to associate, to speak, to criticize her, and to make a living, while protecting her property rights? In other words, why does she have to negate everyone else's humanity while celebrating her good fortune? Don't all of those behaviors indicate a massive self-hatred, as you have tried to diagnose it in others?

5/22/2008 10:14 PM  
Anonymous Squid is right said...

I happened to pick up a tossed N-P and was surprised by TKA's trash attack on the Barnwells.

Doesn't he have anything better to opine about? Brian Barnwell is no longer in office and his wife no longer works at the paper, so who cares?

5/23/2008 12:09 PM  
Anonymous Alyssa said...

Squid, Travis Armstrong is all about "settling scores", regardless of whether they're relevant to the current situation. He's a bitter, cranky, liar with no arrows of substance in his quiver, so he lofts aimless shafts repeatedly at his pet targets, kind of like (to change metaphors) a CD skipping over and over on the same (unmusical) riff.

His silly (and fictional) editorial about the union negotiations is another example of that, filled as it is with old gripes and meaningless critiques (e.g., about the residence of the union's negotiator, in MN, while not mentioning the equally irrelevant "foreign" TN address of the SBNP's negotiator; the "foreign car" driven by the Union's lawyer all the way from LA, where a number of the SBNP's lawyers also live and work) with no bearing on the negotiations themselves. He's too witless to realize he's on the front lines of patent bad faith bargaining by his benefactor, led by the Tennessee Weasel sitting next to him, and the sinister junior barrister gushing venom for its own sake.

5/23/2008 6:52 PM  
Anonymous Payment is dues said...

Wendy's lawyers comes out of Wendy's pocket. Union lawyers come out of the worker's pocket.

Big difference if both of them drive expensive cars and stay in expensive hotels.

Big difference. But maybe union workers love paying for this extravagance. I dunno.

5/23/2008 9:42 PM  
Anonymous Sweet Jane said...

Payment, you have no clue how much the union is spending on its lawyers (or how much this lawyer is spending on his car), and employer supporters like you only claim to care about workers' interests when the objective is to stifle their voice in the workplace, which is Wendy's goal and has been for at least two years. Where was Travis' concern for workers' dues when he was lying -- both in January, 2007 and this past summer -- on the witness stand before the NLRB? Where was his concern for fairness for workers while he sat at the bargaining table smirking as his two lawyers sputter foolishness intended to avoid an agreement that offers them even minimal protection?

The alternative is to stop fighting her, which would suit you and her just fine. BTW, Wendy claims that her legal expenses have been at least part of the reason she laid off people, so if her lawyers hadn't been so profligate, and if she hadn't decided to throw lawyers instead of reason and cooperation at those who disagreed with her, and had not violated the law at every possible turn, this dispute would have been over a lot earlier, with far fewer casualties.

5/24/2008 7:32 AM  
Anonymous What does a union due? said...

Did I miss something, or did the union lawyers actually win anything for their clients yet?

Can't recall there has been any resolution of anything yet. Except the Independent decided to settle instead of fight a useless fight they never should have gotten into.

I have been away, but considering the on-going rancor that still exists, I gather the union dues have not bought the union dues payers a darn thing yet.

The union clients are not as innocent of unculpable as you like to make them out to be. It sounds like both sides were very unhappy with each other.

It was a time for all concerned to part company. This had nothing to do with "working conditions". It had everything to do with employees thinking they owned the company.

5/24/2008 8:36 PM  
Anonymous haymarket said...

What does, it's apparent you have been away. The union lawyers have won a representation fight vigorously (if frivolously) fought by the News-Press, so that the union is now the certified representative of the newsroom employees at the SBNP. The Union and the NLRB's General Counsel have won the important first round against an extravagant errant defense put on by the News-Press against the multiple ULPs committed by management. Steepleton and Armstrong, not to mention McCaw herself, have been firmly established as liars under oath.

The m.o. of outlaw employers like McCaw is to feed into the impatience of observers and sycophants like you, to drag out legal proceedings so they can continue to say, "We haven't really lost yet, the truth will out", and that desperation is topped with, "The agency is biased" or "the court is biased", or even, "We haven't had our day in court yet". A pretty ridiculous thing for Wendy and her lawyer army to say, but it doesn't seem to faze you.

Just once, I would like to hear someone on Wendy's side admit that she did or said something wrong, that maybe, after all of this damage she's done to the institution she bought, that maybe she could have done some things differently; that maybe, just maybe, she could live up to her promise and pledge (see below), which actually says she wants to work "collaboratively and collectively". Sounds a bit like collective bargaining, doesn't it?

What the Wendy rooters refuse to accept is the reality that news reporting by necessity involves reporter input, and even reporter origination of ideas and story angles, and cultivation of sources and relationships. Wendy couldn't write every word in the paper, even if she wanted to. So, in a real sense, reporters, with management oversight, do get to write some of "what they want, when they want". That is just reality, and reporters shouldn't get punished after the fact when management decides, after approving a story, that it was biased (which is exactly how two reporters were fired, demonstrating pretext).

Business owners who are not at peace with their wealth and prerogatives get out of their minds when unions come in, because that means some of their "control" is now in the hands of another group. Wendy, more than most, has overreacted to the point of obsession, and has already been found to have exaggerated, and misunderstood what the employees' objectives are, and where the boundaries of the bargaining process are. The reporters have a right to safeguard their own individual integrity, and to ward off the unfair and dishonest discipline that has been imposed on them. That's what this is about for the union.

Interestingly, McCaw's own journalistic "expert" admitted under oath that he believed newspapers are a "public trust", which I suppose, Mrs. McCaw doesn't believe, notwithstanding her pledge to "staff and friends", published almost two years ago (and still accessible on the NP's generally inaccessible website), "To make the News-Press an even more professionally and personally rewarding place to work, I welcome your comments, recommendations and feedback so we can have an open dialogue to work collectively and collaboratively as we further improve the quality, coverage and accuracy of our paper." Really.

Yes, Wendy knows her legal rights; and surely one of the first words out of her mouth after she emerged from the womb was, "Appeal!" And you seem to think it's normal for 80 or so employees out of a total of 200 to leave or be fired in two years, which tells you something about either your powers of observation or your understanding of the situation, neither of which are impressive.

(BTW, the "useless fight" was brought by the SBNP, not the Indy, and you're right, it shouldn't have been fought, but Wendy is about being a bully, using her lawyers for the task, not about seeking justice, fairness or reconcilation)

5/25/2008 11:37 AM  
Anonymous Change - Yes You Can! said...

Employees wholesale leaving is called a "change in administration" and it happens every 4-8 years. And yes, it is normal. And often it is a Good Thing.

25 years and a gold watch is no longer the reality of the work place. Most people change not only jobs, but entire careers many times in their lives. Check Department of Labor statistics. Many people go back to school even at midlife to retrain for new jobs and new lives. This is normal. And it often is a Good Thing.

Journalism just did not work out for you. Retrain, just like a lot of other people have had to do when their first choice did not work out. You special, or something?

You must all be McCain people because you sound like my grandpa. You certainly can't be Obama people, because change would be your middle name.

Are you sure you are ready to actually live up to his mandate for change. Or, is it something the other guy is supposed to do?

5/25/2008 11:26 PM  
Anonymous Management isn't omnipotent said...

Change -- yes you can. "Change in administration" happens in government, perhaps, but even then, there are the political appointees who come and go, but the thousands of functionaries remain. Pretty useless analogy. Name another newspaper where the turnover is this high, and then tell me whether that newspaper's tumult has anything to do with management oppression.

Obama would not approve of McCaw's rejection of and illegal retaliation against her employees' attempt to gain a voice in the workplace; he would embrace it, encourage it, and probably try to mediate it, trying to get her to live up to her own stated hopes to improve the paper, and to adhere to the law. "Change" is not a concept to be embraced blindly, and "change" brought about by oppression, law-breaking and bullying must be rejected.

People are still waiting for McCaw to take even an ounce of responsibility for mistakes she's made, harm she's caused, vindictiveness in her behavior. Or is that also now the norm, in your view?

5/26/2008 8:49 AM  
Anonymous Sleepytime bear said...

Heck, I'm still waiting for the pack of fired and angry NP staff to take "even an ounce of responsibility" for bringing this all on themselves.

But like Obama, this pack thinks they are benighted, enlighted, entitled and beyond critique.


5/26/2008 6:44 PM  
Anonymous Kaleidoscope said...

So, sleepytime, first you want -- yes, you -- want people to line up with Obama, then you want to trash him and his supporters.

This little note betrays the usual and utterly unconvincing Wendy ploy of claiming victimhood, which is pretty hard to do when you're a billionaire who owns prime real estate in the middle of Santa Barbara, prime real estate in Hope Ranch, a newspaper that can still shout down and intimidate a lot of people, a gas-guzzling mega-yacht on the Mediterranean, lawyer legions at her beck and call to threaten and sue anyone who irritates her, a radio station and a bottled water/pink champagne purveyor. In a way, you're right: the reporters did "bring this on themselves", because they asserted their rights under the law, to protest, to organize, to let the public know what's going on, to challenge McCaw, to speak truth to power. And Wendy McCaw, with all her vindictive, repressive, myopic, self-delusional brute force, struck back and continues to do so, the law and justice be damned. But this isn't ultimately merely a question of who holds the power, but who is in the right. It takes more than money, property and power to be right; in fact, it doesn't take any of those things. But contrary to Wendy's point of view, the staff did have rights other than the only one Wendy appreciates: the right to resign. They also had the right to rise up, to compel her to negotiate, in good faith, which she still hasn't done.

So when Wendy owns up to her errors, her lying on the witness stand, her management team lying right along with her, her trashing of a community institution, then perhaps there can be reconciliation.

5/26/2008 10:12 PM  
Anonymous It won't happen said...

When has Mrs. McCaw ever owned up to any mistakes?

She turns all matters of conscience over to attorneys to litigate.

5/27/2008 1:38 PM  
Anonymous Why? said...

Why is Wendy's way best?

Forget all that $$$. Beyond the power, why is Wendy's way best?

5/28/2008 12:22 AM  
Anonymous She just doesn't get it said...

I just read on another blog about the firing of the News-Press' advertising director.

The paper is going under and Wendy is still trying to find others to blame.

5/28/2008 1:06 AM  
Anonymous Lost generation said...

All newspapers are going under. Don't you read. Besides not thinking and taking responsiblity for anything, we now have a generation that no longer reads. They just respond to celebrity and Obama Girl, and think its cute.

5/28/2008 6:37 AM  
Anonymous Snow Job said...

Judge finally responds to Union - and it is the right ruling.

Wendy does have rights to her own paper and should not be forced to work with people who repeatedly have stated they hate her, her attitude, her associations and her policies.

This is not a union issue; this is decency and common sense with a bit of First Amendment freedom issue thrown in the owner's favor and not the employees.

This is a time to be grateful for Bush court appointees who still have some shred of belief in private property rights versus heavy-handed government intrusions.

5/28/2008 8:48 PM  
Anonymous No biggie said...

Snow job, this is a momentary setback, an errant decision which overlooks 7 decades of precedent; it will be overturned, and Wendy's hateful regime will be fully exposed, yet again.

5/28/2008 10:54 PM  
Anonymous Snow job said it said...

Boss McCaw:

My money. My newspaper. My news. My way.

Wait, maybe the last two sentences should be one:

My news my way.

5/28/2008 11:36 PM  
Anonymous fan of News Press said...

I was glad to hear of the new ruling where the judge ruled that the News Press does not have to give the union reporters their jobs back.

Way to go Wendy!

5/29/2008 2:31 PM  
Anonymous the timekeeper said...

I'm back.

Only 3500 days left until the News Press workers get their job back.


my advice is: don't hold your breath.

5/29/2008 2:38 PM  
Anonymous Snow Job said...

no biggie, are you referring to "7 decades of precedent" as legal precedence or your version history of NP operations?

5/29/2008 3:26 PM  
Anonymous No biggie said...

Snow job, the Judge in one stroke seems poised to undo 7 decades of legal precedent.

5/29/2008 9:44 PM  
Anonymous The West is Red said...

Ah, seven decades of socialism and taking of personal property rights By gum, it has been that long since FDR as President.

5/30/2008 6:41 AM  
Anonymous no biggie said...

West is red, yes, let's go back to those fine Depression days, where we had 30% unemployment, no social security, labor violence and Pinkerton thugs, segregation and lynchings, people jumping out of windows, and corporations running this pristine country. Those were the days!

5/30/2008 7:38 PM  

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