U.S. Agency Files Complaint Against Santa Barbara News-Press Over Labor Practices

An investigation finds that the News-Press tried to thwart workers who sought to unionize.

A federal agency has filed a complaint against the Santa Barbara News-Press, claiming the newspaper retaliated against employees who wanted to join a union. The National Labor Relations Board released the findings of its four-month investigation late Wednesday. It concluded the newspaper fired a reporter, issued two-day suspension notices to 11 employees and canceled a weekly column written by a staffer because it wanted to discourage workers from engaging in union activities.

"We believe we have sufficient evidence to allege a violation," said Tony Bisceglia, a labor board spokesman.

It's the first time the labor board has taken action against Ampersand Publishing, the company that owns the News-Press. Management and workers have been feuding for several months about whether events leading to a Sept. 27 union election were conducted properly.

Employees voted 33 to 6 to join the union.

An administrative law judge will hear arguments Feb. 26 about the allegations in the complaint. A ruling against the newspaper could bring a range of orders, including reinstating the fired reporter and giving back pay to the employees involved.

Details here from the AP via the Los Angeles Times. My earlier post relating to this conflict is here.