Los Angeles Times, newsroom union reach tentative agreement

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (AP) — A tentative three-year labor agreement has been reached between the Los Angeles Times and the union representing about 475 members of its newsroom staff.

The newsroom’s first collective bargaining agreement was reached Wednesday after more than a year of negotiation, the Times reported.

A ratification vote by members of the L.A. Times Guild is expected to be scheduled by the end of the month.

If approved, the deal would go into effect in November.

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The proposed agreement would provide immediate pay raises of at least 5% for many newsroom employees and greater increases for some.

The agreement also includes a 2.5% raise in the contract’s second and third years.

It also has diversity provisions and protections against outsourcing and subcontracting.

The guild, formed nearly two years ago, is part of the NewsGuild sector of the Communications Workers of America.

It represents most non-management newsroom employees including reporters, columnists, data journalists, copy editors, librarians, web producers, audio producers, page designers, photographers and videographers.

“This is what we fought for,” guild co-chair Carolina A. Miranda said in a statement on the agreement.

“Part of the reason I unionized to begin with is because the L.A. Times was the only newsroom I’d worked in that didn’t have basic job protections — things like guaranteed severance or just-cause employment, which allows for due process in the event of a dismissal. This contract achieves that and more,” she said.

Shortly after the vote to unionize, the Times was acquired by biotech billionaire Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, who moved the paper from its historic headquarters in downtown Los Angeles to a modern building in suburban El Segundo near the Los Angeles International Airport.

“My thanks to the union leadership and its members, as well as my colleagues in management, and Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong for their dedication and professionalism through months of negotiations,” Executive Editor Norman Pearlstine said.

“Initial contracts are inherently difficult to negotiate, with every article and clause having profound implications for both sides — now and in the future. With this agreement, I am convinced we have assured the revival of the Times under local ownership,” he said.

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