Wednesday, June 23, 2010

LA Times Management Violates Employee's 1St Ammendment Rights

Ed Padgett, AKA "The Blogging Pressman"
was suspended today by management, pending an investigation, for content he posted on regarding the production problems experienced on Thursday, June 18, 2010.

An announcement by the L.A. Times Publisher, Eddy Hartenstein vaguely described the situation; Ed's post included details and opinions that Ed has every right to post under the same First Ammendment that protects the company's right to publish a newspaper.

(Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.)— The 1st Amendment

Apparently Ed's comments were not well received by management and their feelings got hurt. Thats a shame because management should be more receptive to the constructive critcism that would prevent them from making foolish decisions such as suspending Brother Ed. Ed DID NOT disclose any company or trade secrets that would be detremental to the business, or operation, he merely voiced his opinion based on his more than 30 years experience working for the Los Angeles Times.

No one in management comes close to Ed's years of experience or dedicated service to this newspaper. As a matter of fact, none of his accusers could hold a candle to his ability to operate the behomoth presses that produce the L.A. Times! It has always been an area of contention when managers tell Qualified Journeypresspersons how to do their job, when they are incapable of perfoming our Craft.

Ed, as many of you are aware of, is our Local Recording Secretary; management has targeted our Executive Board Members on previous occassions for demotions and dicipline as a form of punishment for exercising our rights under the law to form a union. I intend on filing an Unfair Labor Practice charge tomorrow morning for that very reason.

This is a fight that we as a Union, will not back down from! I have said to the previous management team that if they don't like what is on their radio, change the station, if they don't like whats on their television, change the channel and if they don't like what they read on the internet, DON'T COME TO OUR SITES! They were not created for their benefit to begin with! Yeah I'm talking to you in Chicago,(whoever you are), and locally, Newton, Walker and Malcolm!

The Union will seek a reversal of Ed's suspension as well as restitution of Ed's lost wages. I have spoken to President Tedeschi and he agrees that this is a form of unjust discipline and we have the support of the International and it's Legal team. I also suspect Ed's Blogging Community will allign their forces in defense of Brother Ed's rights to blog on the internet and voice his opinions that are legally protected.

Since you, management cannot resist, and will never cease reading our blogs, here is a message directly to you.

First, recognize Ed Padgett's rights under the law to post whatever he has a right to publish and reverse his suspension. Second, compensate Ed for his lost wages and this matter will be considered resolved. Should you decide to ignore these recommendations, we are prepared to defend Ed's rights to the bitter end and address this matter publicly, as well as in the legal arena, the choice is yours.

In Solidarity,

Ronnie Pineda, President
Graphic Communication Conference
International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 140-N

Here are the offending blog posts:

Temperatures Rising At The Los Angeles Times

By Ed Padgett, The Blogging Pressman

Nine days ago we experienced a fire in the control panel for the chillers at the LA Times Olympic Facility, which raised the temperatures in the pressroom to unbearable levels.

To make matters worse, many of the fans that are meant to distribute the air in the pressroom are non-functional.

Brother Edward Brunner wondered just how hot the pressroom was and brought in a thermometer yesterday to measure the temperature in the pressroom. We all knew it was uncomfortably hot, but had no idea it was eighty degrees in the pressroom.

The printing process uses a dampener solution that throws a mist of water into the air of the pressroom, which makes it extremely humid.

Many workers are complaining of rashes under their arms and other places on their bodies due to the temperature and humidity, which working without breaks or lunch periods never allows one to cool down properly.

Olympic Pressroom Manager Johnny Walker has assured me the replacement fans and control panel for the chillers are on order, and may be installed as soon as this Monday.Let’s hope Walker is correct as the heat wears you out.

Yesterday I brought in an ice chest filled with a case of water and a case of soda, something management should be doing for the workforce at the Los Angeles Times. I could not believe how quickly the COLD DRINKS disappeared.For you naysayers of the union, who loves you baby, certainly not management.

Posted by Ed Padgett

LA Times Orange County Plant Back Online

It came as no surprise to hear a crew was created early Friday morning to fire up the presses at the shuttered Orange County Los Angeles Times, which was met with cheers from my colleagues that would love to return to their old working place.

A crew was also assembled to run the newspaper from 4:00 p.m. to midnight, and two crews to run the presses beginning at midnight.

No word how long the facility will be in operation at this time, but the Olympic Facility cannot handle the additional workload at this moment. Will keep you updated as information flows in.

Posted by Ed Padgett

Pressmen Beware

With all the ado in the pressroom last night I was requested to inform my brothers and sisters to put their cell phones away, or be written up. I thought to myself, you’ve got to be f*@king kidding me?

Posted by Ed Padgett

Production Problems At The Los Angeles Times

In my thirty-eight years working at the Los Angeles Times, last night was the very first time I wondered if we would deliver today’s edition to our readers.

Yes it was that bad last night at the Olympic Production Facility.

The trouble began with one of the new platesetters failing, giving the pressroom a plate starter (when the last plate arrives to the printing press) sometime around 7:15 p.m., or one hour and fifteen minutes late. The new platesetters are computer to plate, which eliminates the need for negatives that had to be hand placed onto the 38 50 plate burners, which is suppose to save time in the newspaper production process.

Once the plates are mounted onto the plate cylinders the presses begin running, but last night every press experienced web breaks upon starting. I would estimate we lost a minimum of fifty webs last night, which is extremely high.

It was so serious last night that pressroom manager Johnny Walker had to turn off the Laker game and return to work at 8:30 p.m., with Mr. Walker still working when I departed the pressroom this morning at 4:30 a.m. It’s not often I have anything positive to say regarding our management team at the Los Angeles Times, but I have to say Johnny Walker did a hell of a great job last night and into the wee hours of the morning today.

Mr. Walker was next to the men on the catwalk as everyone was attempting to get the presses to produce today’s newspaper. He also ran up and down the catwalks and stairwells trying to identify what was causing all the web breaks, and remember five of the six presses were experiencing problems last night. Many do not care for Mr. Walkers style of leading, best compared to a Marine drill sergeant, but he has his hands full with all the issues in the production of the newspaper. Let’s hope he was able to get home this morning and grab a few hours of sleep.

Our plant manager, which we call Happy Boots, was no where to be seen so I’m assuming he was sleeping while the plant he’s charged with running was burning down. I’ve suggested to our plant manager that he needs to don a pressman’s uniform to see for himself the pressmen are not the cause of the problems, as he suggests often.

The text messages began arriving on my Droid just after 3:00 a.m. from several of the delivery agents I happen to know. They asked why their newspapers had not arrived yet, with one agent mentioning his drivers had other jobs to attend to after delivering their draw of newspapers. I did my best to reassure the agents the newspaper would be there, four to five hours late.

Before the newspaper shuttered the Orange County Production Facility, our supervisors would call for help from our brothers in Costa Mesa, which meant sending trucks and production down south. Today we have placed all our eggs in one basket, and have no one to call for help, with one production facility printing all of the newspaper.

Let’s hope the morning shift at Olympic can catch up, so this afternoon’s shift is not backed up to the wall when we arrive at the newspaper for our 4:00 p.m. shift.

BTW, I’m up to 22.5 hours of overtime in six days, which is in addition to my regular hours.

The Los Angeles Times Blog LA Now, has the story on the late run at the newspaper.I'm just your average pressman and say we need to reopen the Los Angeles Times Orange County Plant, for the remainder of this year, if anyone's listening?
Posted by Ed Padgett

This brings to mind the Los Angeles City Counsel, worried about Arizona immigration law, instead of the impending bankruptcy of the city of Los Angeles.

Let’s worry about the problems facing the Olympic Facility instead of your personal vendetta against the men and women producing the newspaper at the Los Angeles Times, and you know whom I’m speaking to.

Posted by Ed Padgett


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