Thursday, February 21, 2008

News-Press files labor charge against union


A day after the union representing newsroom employees at the Santa Barbara News-Press filed an unfair labor practice charge against the newspaper, the newspaper responded with charges of its own against the union.
Attorneys for the News-Press filed the paperwork Thursday, alleging several members of the union attempted to prevent the newspaper from being delivered and harassed delivery workers.

The charges allege that two former reporters, who are currently involved in a labor dispute with the newspaper over their dismissal, “threatened and/or coerced employees attempting to prepare newspapers for delivery to vendors, carriers and subscribers.”
“The events occurred in September of ’07 and we did a thorough investigation,” said Barry Cappello, an attorney for the News-Press.
He said the incident happened at the News-Press parking lot, when the two ex-reporters approached deliverymen as they assembled the newspaper at 2 a.m., verbally harassing them and attempting to prevent them from leaving the parking lot.
Union representatives dismissed the charges as baseless.
“Until the News-Press goes beyond making conclusory and unfounded allegations, there is nothing that the union can say about the charges, other than they are an attempted diversion from the meritorious charges the union has filed and is pursuing with evidence,” said Ira Gottlieb, an attorney with the union. “…If and when the News-Press comes up with evidence in support of this conclusory allegation, we will respond appropriately.”
As with previous unfair labor practice charges involving the union and newspaper, attorneys with the National Labor Relations Board will investigate the allegations and determine whether or not to move forward with prosecution.

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