Times pressmen vote to unionize *

General Otis (and Otis Chandler) must be rolling in their graves. For the first time in a long while, workers at the Los Angeles Times have voted to affiliate with a union. LA Observed's Jacob Soboroff was at today's NLRB vote count and has the exclusive video report at Native Intelligence.

Generations of Times owners have successfully fought efforts to unionize. They used every trick, including throwing good-enough money and benefits at employees so that every previous union vote except for one two in the 1960s was were turned down. Pressmen then voted in the union and were represented for three years, but ended it unhappily. But Tribune is in charge now. Put another screw-up on Chicago's scorecard. This may be good for the workers, but it could complicate Tribune's attempts to sell. Here's this morning's advancer in the Times.

* Update: Publisher David Hiller's afternoon bulletin to the staff after the jump.

Edited post

Subject: Employee Bulletin

(Managers and supervisors: Please share this information with your employees who do not have e-mail. Thank you.)

Employee Bulletin

January 6, 2007

Pressroom employees at the Olympic and Orange County plants of Los Angeles Times voted in favor of representation by the Graphic Communication Conference of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (GCC/IBT) during balloting January 4th and 5th by a vote of 140 to 131.

In response, Publisher David Hiller said, "we are, of course, disappointed in the outcome of the vote. Under any and all circumstances, however, The Times and our employees will make good our commitment to publishing a great newspaper every day, as we have for 125 years."

The Times is one of the most innovative and high quality operators in the industry and the pressroom has long enjoyed wage and benefits at the top of the newspaper business.

The Union's narrow victory followed five previous unsuccessful organizing attempts over the last two decades. In 1963 The Times pressroom employees voted the Union in but voted it out the following year. In 1967 the Union was once again voted in but was voted out in 1970 immediately following expiration of the Union's labor contract with The Times.

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