Magazine article Editor & Publisher

NLRB Claims Santa Barbara Paper Wrongly Fired 7 Staffers

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

NLRB Claims Santa Barbara Paper Wrongly Fired 7 Staffers

Article excerpt

A day after the Santa Barbara News-Press lost its challenge against a newsroom vote to unionize last fall, the troubled newspaper has been dealt another blow as the National Labor Relations Board chose to uphold a string of unfair labor charges, including the unlawful firing of seven staffers engaged in union activities.

The NLRB issued the complaint late Tuesday that determined the paper acted improperly in the firing of former staffers Anna Davison, Melissa Evans, Dawn Hobbs, Rob Kuznia, Barney McManigal, Thomas Schultz and John Zant. All of those were terminated last month after they hung a banner over a freeway urging a boycott of the paper.

The complaint also contends that the paper violated union organizer's rights by issuing negative performance evaluations against several of the leaders, prohibiting them from wearing buttons on the job that promoted unionization, and from placing signs in their own vehicles. In addition, alleged threats by News-Press attorney A. Barry Cappello were deemed to be in violation of the employees' rights.

The complaint accuses the paper of "coercively interrogating employees, verbally and in writing, about their union or other protected concerted activities." NLRB officials also requested a review to determine if a Section 10 (j) injuction be imposed, which would temporarily block further firings or other actions against News-Press workers.

The complaint now goes before an administrative law judge for review. No date has been set.

"This federal labor agency decision to prosecute the News-Press for multiple serious labor law violations - comparable to a District Attorney's decision to prosecute a criminal defendant for committing a crime - further undermines the News-Press' recent delusional moronic ad campaign claiming it somehow was a victim," union officials said in a statement. …

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