1705717944 For the first time in more than a century Los

For the first time in more than a century, Los Angeles Times journalists are on strike

For the first time in more than a century Los

The history of the Los Angeles Times is full of milestones. Founded in 1881, the newspaper made its building available to Charlie Chaplin to film his first film in 1914. In its pages, readers learned about events that changed the city, such as the Zoot Suits riots and the macabre murder of journalist-famous Elizabeth Short. of events like the Black Dahlia. The political power of its editors was famous. They were responsible for launching Richard Nixon's political career and crushing the socialist writer Upton Sinclair's ambitions to become governor. In all that time, however, the newspaper had never experienced a strike by its reporters. See you this Friday.

“Los Angeles Times management has announced that it plans to lay off a significant number of journalists soon,” the newspaper’s union said in a statement released Thursday. In protest, newsroom employees left their offices in Sacramento, the state capital, Washington, Austin (Texas) and Los Angeles for a day this Friday.

Dozens of journalists demonstrated in Grand Park, the site of Los Angeles City Hall. They wore T-shirts with the eagle on the chest that crowned the newspaper's original building, not far from the mayor's office. The heavy bronze sculpture accompanied the editorial team in two moves and is now in the foyer of the newspaper's editorial office, near the airport.

Employees complain that the newspaper's management is putting pressure on them to cut benefits in the new collective bargaining agreement that gives them “more freedom to decide who to fire.” “The changes the administration is trying to make to our contract are obscene and untenable,” said Brian Contreras, the union’s chairman.

This is the first strike for the newspaper, which began publication on December 4, 1881. However, workplace tensions are not unusual for the newspaper. On October 1, 1910, a bomb exploded in a warehouse where ink for the printing presses was stored. The attack, which killed 21 people, was staged by union activists to condemn the hostile policies of the Chandler family, who were rabidly anti-union workers.

Los Angeles Times employees are fighting for some of the oldest labor rights in American journalism. Norman Chandler, the son of legendary owner Harry Chandler (the businessman who gave Hollywood its famous mark), granted the newspaper's employees one of the most important benefits packages in the country in 1937, a transfer benefit for the benefit of employees, to assuage the worries of the newspaper's employees about a union found. However, this became a reality in 2018. It consists of around 450 people.

The unionization was made possible by the change in ownership of the Los Angeles Times. The Chandlers sold the newspaper to Tribune Publishing in 2000. The Chicago-based newspaper giant, an expert at newsroom ousting and downsizing, cut its headcount from 1,200 to 500. After a brief stint in the portfolio of real estate millionaire Sam Zell, the LA Times became physician Patrick Soon-Shiong taken over, a pioneer in the field of pancreas transplantation, whose assets are around 5.5 billion US dollars.

Several Los Angeles journalists believed that Soon-Shiong's arrival was similar to Jeff Bezos landing at the Washington Post. These assets would serve as a safety net for a century-old organization during turbulent times for journalism. It was not like that. The honeymoon period ended last year when management announced the layoff of 13% of the workforce (approximately 74 people) to address the complex times facing the world's media. The postal service, owned by one of the world's richest men, laid off 240 employees in 2023.

This Friday's protest is a new example of the adjustments that the American media is making to its personnel. The strike comes the same week that Pitchfork, an influential music review site, is laying off most of its writers. And on the same day that Sports Illustrated, perhaps the most famous sports magazine in the country, announces that the employment of the magazine's 82 employees is in jeopardy following a conflict between the brand and the license holder. These are difficult times for the press.