Judge rules against News-Press

McCawAn administrative law judge has ruled that wacky Wendy McCaw's Santa Barbara News-Press did violate a number of federal labor laws and must re-hire — and give back pay — to at least eight ex-staffers. Basically, the judge agreed with the National Labor Relations Board that McCaw and friends flouted federal law when they went after reporters and editors who formed a union following last year's initial massacre of staffers and journalism ethics at the paper. From the Santa Barbara Independent, which has read the judge's order:

According to the order, in the next two weeks, the News-Press must re-hire Melinda Burns, Anna Davison, Dawn Hobbs, Rob Kuznia, Barney McManigal, Tom Schultz, John Zant, and Melissa Evans, must back-pay those fired employees as well as fired editor Bob Giuliano, and must retract any related negative performance reviews or letters of reprimand. The judge also issued a wide-ranging cease-and-desist order against management, protecting current and future employees against surveillance, threats, interrogation, firings, or any other actions related to their union involvement. And this order must be posted in the newsroom.

To see the 78-page decision yourself, go here.

The money will be critical for some of the staffers, of course, but having to go back to work for McCaw — they lose by winning. Meanwhile, the big case up there continues. McCaw is trying to ding ex-editor Jerry Robert for $25 million in damages, this after she smeared him with bogus child porn accusations and after he began treatment for lymphoma. Ex-staffers have been called to testify and in some cases left in tears by the questioning from Barry Cappello, McCaw's lawyer. She attends every session, watching intently. RJ Smith's piece on McCaw in the January Los Angeles magazine is now online; that's where the illo comes from.

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