LA Times Newsroom Bid to Unionize Passed by Wide Margin

LA Times Employees Are Demanding Their CEO Be Fired After Misconduct Allegations Surface

Tronc, in addition to owning the Times, owns the New York Daily News.

The vote to unionize received 85 percent approval from reporters at the LA Times, who went to the polls earlier this month.

On Thursday, the guild called for Ross Levinsohn, the L.A. Times' fifth publisher in five years, to resign amid a report he had been a defendant in two separate sexual harassment lawsuits and admitted to rating his female colleagues' "hotness" while also speculating whether one of them worked as a stripper.

In a lengthy story on Thursday, NPR's David Folkenflik reported that a former employee of the search engine Alta Vista had named Levinsohn, among other executives, in a lawsuit.

After the NPR report landed, an organizing committee of Times employees put out a statement calling for Levinsohn's resignation or termination. The report, by media correspondent David Folkenflik, found that Levinsohn was a defendant in two sexual harassment lawsuits and that he allegedly engaged in "frat-boy" behavior in work settings before joining The Times on August 21.

Prior to Dearborn's announcement, the Times newsroom had been speaking up loudly against Levinsohn.

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"As of this morning, Ross Levinsohn has voluntrarily (sic) agreed to take an unpaid leave of absence, effective immediately", said tronc Chief Executive Justin Dearborn in a memo to staff. "The company has retained Sidley Austin LLP to conduct a review of the allegations regarding his behavior", LA Times parent company Tronc, Inc. said in a company-wide email that was subsequently posted to Twitter by several of the paper's reporters.

He was also alleged to have told a fellow executive that he didn't want to stay at a company fashion event in 2013 because he would be surrounded by "f--s", using an anti-gay slur.

The day before the January 4 vote, the paper's editor-in-chief, Lewis D'Vorkin, and its former interim executive editor, Jim Kirk, made a last-ditch effort to quash the union campaign.

Times Guild organizing committee member and 30-year L.A. Times newsroom veteran Bettina Boxall said after the vote that it was time for journalists to have a formal spot at the bargaining table. He called NPR's CEO in an attempt to stop the story, telling him the claims were all "lies". The executive said she had warned other top bosses about Levinsohn's behavior.

NPR said Levinsohn did not respond on the record to detailed questions.

Levinsohn will be replaced by President Mickie Rosen while Tronc investigates the allegations. "We are immediately launching an investigation so that we have a better understanding of what's occurred", the statement read. "Tronc is committed to creating a culture of diversity and inclusion, and we will take appropriate action to address any behavior that is inconsistent with this culture".

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