The Los Angeles Times Votes To Unionize

Bloomberg via Getty Images
Ross Levinsohn was hired to run the Los Angeles Times last August

Bloomberg via Getty Images Ross Levinsohn was hired to run the Los Angeles Times last August

Meanwhile, the company that eventually became Tronc has lurched from bankruptcy to a spinoff to a change in ownership and, finally, a new name in under a decade.

On Friday, a National Labor Relations Board tally found that newsroom workers voted 248 to 44 for representation by NewsGuild-Communications Workers of America. In a January 3 email to employees that was reviewed by Bloomberg, L.A. Times Interim Executive Editor Jim Kirk and Editor in Chief Lewis D'Vorkin warned: "union leaders may tell you they can protect against layoffs but they didn't at the New York Times, Huffington Post, the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal".

Levinsohn was reportedly again among the defendants listed in a harassment lawsuit in 2006, this time while working as an executive senior vice president for News Corp.

The Los Angeles Times has been out front doing some serious reporting on numerous sexual harassment and assault scandals that have plagued powerful men in media and entertainment this past year, so it comes as quite a surprise that their CEO and publisher, Ross Levinsohn, has now been accused of similar actions.

The report comes as the L.A. Times focuses much of its coverage on the growing #MeToo movement and the "Time's Up" campaign against sexual abuse in Hollywood.

After the NPR report landed, an organizing committee of Times employees put out a statement calling for Levinsohn's resignation or termination.

The report states that in 2001, when Levinsohn was an executive with the search-engine company Alta Vista, he was a defendant in a sexual harassment and gender discrimination case.

"This week, the company learned of allegations of inappropriate behavior by Ross Levinsohn", Tronc Chief Executive Justin Dearborn said in a note to employees.

Levinsohn is also accused of not wanting to be "surrounded by gays" at a luncheon.

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. He called NPR's CEO in an attempt to stop the story, telling him the claims were all "lies".

A ballot tally conducted January 19 by the National Labor Relations Board showed Los Angeles Times' journalists voted 248 to 44 to form a union. 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".

Other incidents detailed in the NPR story include allegedly hiring bikini clad models to attend a sales event in France, publicly kissing a woman who was not his wife at a company party, and having multiple parties in the Hamptons broken up by police.

"We respect the outcome of the election and look forward to productive conversations with union leadership as we move forward", Tronc said in a statement. "We will take appropriate action to address any behavior that falls short of these expectations".

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