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Posts Tagged ‘Ed Padgett’

Suicides and Sabotage at the LA Times

Frying Pan News’ Steven Mikulan just posted quite the exit interview with recently fired LA Times blogging pressman Ed Padgett. The Times cited Padgett for “suspicion of sabotage” among other reasons for letting him go. Which sounds absolutely insane. Mikulan delves a little deeper.

Shortly after Padgett’s firing there was a “Christmas purge” of workers, followed by a “New Years Purge.”

“Those folks each got $20,000 in severance,” Padgett claims. “Two of the fellows were let go two weeks early because they were worried about sabotage. They’re so paranoid, because it’s not just my department — it includes editorial.”

Padgett believes it’s possible there’s some reality behind the company’s fears. A Teamster email he posted on his blog in December warned members against engaging in sabotage — while denying such behavior. But what does that ultimately say about a company that its employees would harm the source of their livelihoods?

Padgett also says that two recently fired Times employees have committed suicide in the past few months–an operations plant worker and a company truck driver. Terrible, terrible news. Especially in the context of Tribune Company’s plans to give management big, fat, out-of-the-blue bonuses.

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LA Times Fires Blogging Pressman Ed Padgett

Ed Padgett, the founder and chief contributor to the blog The Los Angeles Times Pressmen’s 20 Year Club, got canned last week. No reason has been given, but it’s worth noting that Padgett’s blogging has long been a thorn in the sides of LA Times execs. A union activist, Padget frequently rallied for employee rights and openly discussed the inner workings of the LA Times Operations department on his website.

Padgett announced the termination today on his blog:

After working thirty-nine years, four months, and nine days for the Los Angeles Times I was informed over the phone by human resources that I was terminated on Monday December 12th, 2011. I had no clue I was under investigation, so it came as a shock to learn I was being investigated by human resources and terminated upon the completion of the so-called investigation.

I’m not at liberty to share why I was terminated or what my actions in response will be at this time; so stay tuned as this unfolds.

Whatever the reason, the LA Times has just lost yet another dedicated and hardworking employee who cared deeply about the future of journalism. A damn shame.

UPDATED: The LA Times Sued For Wiretapping?

LA Times pressman Ed Padgett spotted this billboard a couple days ago, and it left us scratching our heads.

When we think of wiretapping, it’s usually in the context of nefarious governments and James Bond-type antics. Is it possible our own hometown newspaper was illicitly eavesdropping on the conversations of unsuspecting citizens?

Um, no.

What the lawsuit alleges is that business columnist Michael Hiltzik recorded phone interviews with an on-the-record source, attorney Robert Silverman. It should be noted that it’s standard practice for journalists to record interviews, since most of us can’t type that fast.

But according to state wiretap law, both parties have to give consent for a phone conversation to be legally taped. Silverman alleges that he was taped without his consent.

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Is the End of the LA Times at Hand?

Frying Pan editor Steven Mikulan just posted an important interview with LA Times pressman and labor blogger Ed Padgett. Padgett says that since the Times‘ press operators joined the Teamsters union in 2008, 103 out of 220 original members have been laid off. “Non-union employees [get] 20 to 25 weeks severance while union members get nothing,” he says.

Horrible. But the real news is that Padgett says the LA Times brass have told him the paper will go online only in the next three to five years.

They’re expecting a really bad fourth quarter. The senior vice president told us we’ve got three years more of printing the hard copy Times before they shut it down. Our plant manager says five years.

Only three years until the company voluntarily ends the LA Times!!!!?

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Job Losses at LA Times Go Beyond the Newsroom

The LA Times layoffs didn’t stop with the Editorial department. Pressman Ed Padgett is reporting that the Operations department is currently being hit hard. He writes, “twenty-eight full time employees working in Packaging and Distribution and Paper Handling have been offered buyouts.”

The press room is also facing job cuts. Padgett reports that that between 30% and 54% of press room workers are about to lose their jobs. We have to wonder why management is so drastically shrinking the press room. Does they plan to print fewer papers? Are they outsourcing the printing operations? Do they think magic elves show up in the middle of the night to do the work of all the employees they just canned?

We’ll let you know when we have more information. And if you know of unreported layoffs in any LA Times department, please be in touch.

LA Times Pressman’s Union President Suffers Heart Attack

Ronnie Pineda, union president of Local 140-N, the LA Times pressmen’s chapter, suffered a heart attack on Friday night. Ed Padgett reported on Saturday that Pineda “is resting in the hospital with his wife Diane at his side.”

While not sure of his current condition, we’re optimistic. Pressmen are made of sturdy stuff.

Photo swiped from Mr. Pineda’s facebook page.

Reports Of Drop In LA Times Circulation May Have Been Greatly Exaggerated. Or Not.

The LA Times gave us a talking to for the post we wrote yesterday called June 7, 2009- Circulation of The LA Times Sunday Edition Drops Below One Million. They took exception to the claim that the June 7 circulation was 988,662 because it is not the number verified by the Audit Bureau of Circulation (ABC). The official number is an average calculated twice annually, and the most recent audit puts the LAT Sunday circulation at 1,019,388.

We got the 988,662 number off of Ed Padgett‘s blog. Padgett works in the LAT pressroom, and strikes us as a pretty credible source- but the circulation number he gives for June 7 is not official and hasn’t been verified. We believe it. You don’t have to.

June 7, 2009- Circulation of The LA Times Sunday Edition Drops Below One Million

LAT pressman Ed Padgett writes on his blog:

My career at the Los Angeles Times began on August 3, 1972, and the Sunday circulation of our newspaper always surpassed the million mark my entire career. This unfortunately changed on Sunday June 7, 2009 when circulation eased below one million copies.

Here’s a headline from the Los Angeles Times Media Center:
1961 Sunday circulation breaks the one-million mark several times during the year.

Eddy Hartenstein
was brought on board as publisher of the Los Angeles Times on August 18th, 2008 to stem the bleeding at the newspaper. Just like his three Tribune Company predecessors, the blood flow has not stopped or even slowed.

With circulation and advertising descending on a daily basis at the Los Angeles Times will our publisher resort to cutting expenses by reducing the size of the workforce to increase revenue, one more time?

On Sunday June 7th, 2009 the Los Angeles Times distributed 584,310 West edition newspapers, 404,352 East Edition newspapers, for a total distribution of 988,662 Sunday newspapers.

Computer Glitch Gives LA Times Employees A Scare

Ed Padgett reports on his blog about a little heart-stopper LAT employees received on Monday when they found they couldn’t get into the building:

Many Los Angeles Times employees assumed the worse when their company identification cards would not allow them onto the newspaper property yesterday at Times Mirror Square. Seems the system that reads employee identity cards went down Sunday morning at 3:30 am for unknown reasons.

With the newspaper in turmoil and the CEO possibly leaving the Tribune Company, many employees thought they had been terminated from the newspaper, but were not informed by their supervisor.

Why would employees think they had been let go you ask? Last year two employees were not notified of their job loss until they arrived at the newspaper. When their I.D. cards did not work, security gave them the bad news that they had lost their jobs.

Bloggers Meet In Meat Space

At yesterday evening’s Mediabistro party, your FBLA editors met the charming Ed Padgett, who writes the Los Angeles Times Pressmens 20 Year Club blog. Of course we took pictures. We love to take pictures.

fblaed.jpg
Pandora Young, Ed Padgett and Tina Dupuy

Sadly we don’t have any pictures of the Gavin Newsom fundraiser being held right next door to our little soiree. Mediabistro partygoer George Ducker tried to charm his way in, but was told firmly at the door, “No press!”

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