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Union In, Levinsohn on Leave at Times

20 Января 2018

Levinsohn was the Times' fifth publisher in as many years.

Ballots for the union vote were counted Friday at a regional office of the National Labor Relations Board, which conducted in-person voting January 4 and has since been receiving mail-in ballots.

On the LA Times organizing front, the News Guild organizing committee said it was pushing for a variety of demands, including pay raises to keep pace with inflation, better severance packages, equal pay and better treatment for women and journalists of color and just-cause firing protections.

Levinsohn is a veteran media executive who's worked at companies including CBS, News Corp. and Yahoo-ultimately rising to interim chief of the latter (he was ultimately passed over for the permanent job when Marissa Mayer was poached from Google).

"As senior editors at the Los Angeles Times, we are deeply concerned about reports that publisher Ross Levinsohn has admitted in sworn testimony to at least two acts of sexual harassment in connection with his previous employment".

"It was electric", said Anthony Pesce, union organizer and Los Angeles Times data reporter, who was with several other reporters as federal employees tallied the ballots.

Some Times employees had called for Levinsohn to be fired after National Public Radio reported Thursday on allegations that he had engaged in what has been termed "frat-boy" behavior while serving as an executive at two previous companies and was a defendant in two sexual harassment lawsuits before he joined the Times on August 21.

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"We remain committed to ensuring that the Los Angeles Times is a leading source for news and information and to producing the award-winning journalism our readers rely on".

Levinsohn made anti-gay remarks at a 2013 event at SoHo House in West Hollywood, according to the NPR report.

For the first time in the paper's 136-year history, journalists at the storied daily have voted to be represented by a union, it was announced on Friday.

The story broke one day before Times newsroom employees learned that they would be unionizing for the first time.

NPR said Levinsohn did not respond on the record to detailed questions. He called NPR's CEO in an attempt to stop the story, telling him the claims were all "lies". In response, more than 180 newsroom employees signed a letter saying Levinsohn has "lost credibility as the leader of one of the country's top newspapers".

Tronc, the Times' parent company, told the outlet that they were investigating him but have yet to suspend the publisher.

Tronc said it looks "forward to productive conversations with union leadership as we move forward" in a statement issued Friday. "Once that review is complete, we will take swift and appropriate action to address any behavior that falls short of our expectations".

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Union In, Levinsohn on Leave at Times