Los Angeles Times journalists vote 248-44 to unionize

LA Times Employees Are Demanding Their CEO Be Fired After Misconduct Allegations Surface

The LA Times is owned by the media conglomerate Tronc. On Friday, a tally by the National Labor Relations Board revealed that newsroom employees had voted to form a union, a historic first for the paper, which had always been staunchly anti-union. In a January 3 email to employees that was reviewed by Bloomberg, L.A. Times Interim Executive Editor Jim Kirk and Editor in Chief Lewis D'Vorkin warned: "union leaders may tell you they can protect against layoffs but they didn't at the New York Times, Huffington Post, the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal".

Levinsohn, a former Fox and Yahoo executive, joined the Times in late August after Tronc ousted the paper's former editor/publisher Davan Maharaj and several other top editors.

The publisher of the Los Angeles Times is under investigation after two sexual harassment lawsuits accuse him of rating female colleagues by their "hotness" and aggressively kissing a woman in front of his co-workers.

The Los Angeles Times has given prominent coverage to recent revelations of sexual harassment of women by prominent men, particularly in entertainment and media.

The Los Angeles Times headquarters in Los Angeles.

Ross Levinsohn "voluntarily agreed" to the unpaid leave, according to an memo that was sent to Times employees by Tribune Publishing CEO Justin Dearborn and obtained by Variety.

We demand an independent investigation to examine how Levinsohn was hired given his documented history of misconduct; whether he acted inappropriately toward Times employees during his tenure as publisher; and how the company and board have responded previously to allegations of sexual misconduct by newspaper leaders.




He was also alleged to have told a fellow executive that he didn't want to stay at a company fashion event in 2013 because he would be surrounded by "f--s", using an anti-gay slur.

The story broke one day before Times newsroom employees learned that they would be unionizing for the first time.

The Los Angeles Times newsroom has never been represented by a union, but the organization effort, which geared up last year, comes after years of steep declines in print advertising, staff cutbacks and management turnover.

The day before the January 4 vote, the paper's editor-in-chief, Lewis D'Vorkin, and its former interim executive editor, Jim Kirk, made a last-ditch effort to quash the union campaign. One attendee from another company recalled that she got onboard, having been invited by Levinsohn to talk business. According to NPR, Levinsohn called allegations against him "lies" in a Wednesday phone call.

After NPR's story came out, Tronc said in a statement that it was not aware of the allegations until recently.

"We respect the outcome of the election and look forward to productive conversations with union leadership as we move forward", Tronc said in a statement. "We will not hesitate to take further action, if appropriate, once the review is complete".

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