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News-Press Workers Vote for Union

Editorial staffers at the Santa Barbara daily say tally is a show of unity.

September 28, 2006|From the Associated Press

SANTA BARBARA — Newsroom employees at the embattled Santa Barbara News-Press voted Wednesday to be represented by a union, though management said it might contest the results.

The dispute over the vote is the latest development in a feud between newsroom workers and management at the paper, where nearly every top editor quit earlier this year to protest what they said was meddling by owner Wendy McCaw.

The employees voted to join the Graphic Communications Conference of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. Attorney Ira Gottlieb, who represents the workers, said the tally was 33 to 6.

A spokeswoman for McCaw would not confirm the total but acknowledged that employees had voted for the union.

"This historic vote sends a serious message to the company that we are strong and united in our efforts," the employees said in a statement.

The results will need to be certified by the National Labor Relations Board before both sides can enter into contract negotiations, Gottlieb said.

The paper, however, issued a statement saying, "The News-Press is not convinced that its employees were afforded a fair election free from coercion. The paper will consider all its options." A News-Press spokeswoman declined to elaborate.

The News-Press is a 41,000-circulation daily and has 50 newsroom employees among a 206-person workforce.

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