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.