Los Angeles Times journalists take step to unionize newsroom

A committee representing newsroom employees of the Los Angeles Times took an initial step Monday to form a union by asking the National Labor Relations Board to hold an election.

Earlier this year, a group of more than 40 Times journalists launched efforts to have the NewsGuild-Communications Workers of America represent the newsroom in collective bargaining. The election filing, made by the guild on behalf of the Times employees, comes after years of steep declines in print advertising, staff cutbacks and management turnover.

The committee said it expects the election, which would be overseen by the NLRB, to be conducted next month.

“The Los Angeles Times is a great paper, and it will only be better with a democratic newsroom," said Bernie Lunzer, president of the NewsGuild-CWA in Washington, D.C. "This is a chance to have a seat at the table."

Ross Levinsohn, the publisher of The Times, declined to comment.

The NewsGuild, formed in 1933, represents 25,000 journalists, including reporters, columnists, copy editors, graphic designers, photojournalists and others. The Times is one of the few major U.S. newspapers whose journalists are not part of a union.

According to the NLRB website, L.A. Times press operators held a separate union organization election last week on whether to decertify their union. Preliminary results showed that 85 of the newspaper’s 90 press operators voted in an election that ended Nov. 30. Of those, 50 workers voted to stay with the Graphic Communications Conference/International Brotherhood of Teamsters union and 35 voted against.

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