The Santa Barbara News-Press filed another unfair labor practice charge against the Teamsters Union on Wednesday for having its members protest during the newspaper’s 18th annual banquet last weekend.
The News-Press filed with the National Labor Relations Board, adding to the already thick stack of charges and complaints the newspaper and union have filed against each other in recent weeks.
Newsroom employees, who recently became members of the Graphics Communications Conference of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, gathered in front of the Four Seasons Biltmore in Montecito on Saturday night to protest during the News-Press’s annual banquet dinner. Protesters criticized the recent firing of News-Press veteran Melinda Burns and voiced their objections to another unfair labor charge filed against the union the week before.
Protesters held signs and chanted the slogan “McCaw, Obey the Law” in order to pressure News-Press owner Wendy McCaw and her limited liability company, Ampersand Publishing, LLC, to negotiate with the union.
Agnes Huff of Agnes Huff Communications Group, the public relations company representing News-Press management, said union supporters illegally protested on the Biltmore’s private property.
“Anything across the street would be public property,” Huff said. “The police drove by several times and told them to break it up.”
According to the press release, “The union, through its representatives, engaged in, or encouraged others to engage in, illegal secondary activities for the purpose of forcing or requiring the Santa Barbara Biltmore Hotel to cease doing business with Ampersand Publishing, LLC, or pressuring Ampersand to recognize or bargain with the teamsters.”
Huff said the News-Press filed the charge because the union could have potentially hurt the Biltmore’s business.
“Secondary activities is when a third party is targeted,” Huff said. “They’re being hurt by an action that’s really against the News-Press.”
Despite the efforts of union supporters, Huff said the News-Press will not negotiate with the union until the NLRB grants it official recognition as well as looks through both sides’ complaints.
“Keep in mind the union has not been certified,” Huff said. “Until the NLRB certifies the union, there’s really nothing to talk about.”
The press release also stated that the Teamsters have used former News-Press employees and community members for “public attacks against their intended targets, including threats, intimidation, harassment and secondary activities that harm third parties.”
Huff said the union has been rallying support from the Santa Barbara community to cancel subscriptions of the News-Press, in order to force McCaw and management into negotiations.
“I think it’s all really come together in a concerted effort to damage the News-Press,” Huff said.