Monday, March 17, 2008

Feds dismiss charges against newsroom union


Government officials dismissed recent unfair labor practice charges filed against the newsroom union at the Santa Barbara News-Press, declaring that further proceedings are not warranted.
Attorneys for the newspaper filed the charges in mid-February alleging several members of the union attempted to prevent the newspaper from being delivered and harassed delivery workers in September 2007.
An investigation conducted by the regional office of the National Labor Relations Board failed to turn up sufficient evidence to support those claims, according to a decision to dismiss the charges penned by James J. McDermott, regional director of the NLRB, on March 13.

“This dismissal once again exposes the News-Press’ willingness to file charges against union supporters — and use its own bully pulpit to publicize the filing and ask questions later … perhaps for the purpose of deflecting its own well-deserved negative public image,” union attorney Ira Gottlieb said in an e-mail.
The charges alleged that two union supporters approached deliverymen at a parking lot in Santa Barbara as they assembled the newspaper in the early morning hours, blocking the entrance and threatening the workers.
In addition to noting that there is insufficient evidence that either union supporter was an agent of the union at that time, McDermott said the alleged conduct did not violate labor law.
“There was one occasion in which the vehicle … briefly impeded the entrance to a public parking structure where employees were unloading newspaper for pickup by carriers,” he wrote.
But after it was pointed out, the vehicle was moved immediately, he said, adding that insufficient evidence exists to show that either union member restrained or coerced the newspaper workers.

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