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Posts Tagged ‘Steven Mikulan’

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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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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LAANE Launches New Economic Justice Blog ‘The Frying Pan’

The Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy (LAANE) just launched a new daily blog devoted to labor and social justice issues it’s calling “The Frying Pan.” Longtime LA Weekly staffer Steven Mikulan is the site’s editor.

From the new site:

The concept for The Frying Pan originated at LAANE, but this is not a LAANE blog – it is a platform for those who share our belief that we can and must build an economy that works for all of us. We hope you’ll join the conversation.

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Village Voice Union In for a Fight

Village Voice staffers could go on strike by the end of the week if they can’t reach a contract agreement by June 30.  Contrary to the union press release on the matter, however, the Voice is not the only unionized paper in the VVM chain. The LA Weekly is unionized as well, although its ranks have been gutted by layoffs.

We spoke with former LA Weekly shop steward Steven Mikulan about the situation at the Voice, who gave us his thoughts on the back story of the strike. Mikulan helped negotiate the LA Weekly union’s last contract with VVM back in 2009.

Neither the L.A. Weekly nor the Voice‘s union locals have the right to strike — until after their contracts expire and there’s no sign of a new collective bargaining agreement. (Likewise, management can’t lock out the union — until the contract expires, etc.) That’s the way most contracts are — to walk out while a contract’s in force is to engage in a wildcat strike.

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LA Weekly Ratifies New Contract

Steven Mikulan just sent us this email:

[O]ur union membership unanimously ratified a new contract for 2009-2012. I wish I could give you details, but we’re sort of constrained not to. The union representing us is the International Association of Machinists; we’re Local 201, L.A. Weekly, part of District Lodge 947. Our members voted to accept the contract with the L.A. Weekly on Monday, June 15. I’m a staff writer at the paper and the local president.

Cheers,
Steven Mikulan

Machinist Union? We want to make a Flashdance joke.

City To Bring Back Birth Control For Low-Income Critters

SpayNeuter.jpg Last year Los Angeles enacted a strict pet sterilization law that requires most of the city’s pet owners have their dog or cat spayed or neutered. L.A.’s Animal Services had a voucher program that provided free spaying and neutering services to low-income owners- but that program was recently eliminated by the agency’s general manager, Ed Boks. The City Council wasn’t happy with Boks for that decision. Steven Mikulan at LA Daily tells us:

L.A.’s Animal Services general manager Ed Boks left a City Council committee hearing with his tail between his legs yesterday, after being grilled about his unilateral decision to suspend his agency’s spay-neuter voucher program.
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By the end of yesterday’s hearing a contrite Boks admitted he’d gone about fixing his budget shortfall the wrong way, while KNX Radio reported he would begin reinstating the spay-neuter vouchers. It’s expected to be back in place by week’s end, with the City Council apparently ready to overturn Boks’ decision if he doesn’t. Whether this will promote a truce between the council and Boks remains to be seen.