The newsroom employees of the Los Angeles Times have voted to form a union for the first time amid growing turmoil at the storied paper. The National Labor Relations Board counted the ballots in downtown Los Angeles; the final vote count, according to the union and supporters and observers who were in the room and tweeting during the vote, was 248-44.
Journalists at the paper, in the middle of organizing a union, disagreed with the new editor’s call to lie low on social media.
News unions are back. They never really went away, of course, but for the first time in memory they are proactive rather than on the defensive. They are strong on promoting diversity and editorial independence, and often provide impressive raises, but tend to skimp on traditional worker protections — overtime pay and even just-cause firing — because they aren’t seen as that important to the new generation of newspeople.
Organized labor has begun a major push to unionize writers, producers and on-air talent who work on Vice Media’s video and TV programming, after successfully organizing digital newsrooms in recent years.