LA Times newsroom staff go on 1-day strike in protest of anticipated layoffs

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LOS ANGELES (KABC) — The Los Angeles Times, the largest newspaper serving the second-largest city in the country, is in turmoil.

Roughly 400 members of the union, which represents newsroom staff, writers and photographers, walked off the job for the first time in the 142-year-history of the newspaper. The one-day strike comes after executive editor Kevin Merida resigned last week.

“We are grateful that the owner has put so much money and time and effort into the paper. Now that the owner has built this paper up, now is not the time to cut it down,” said Carla Hall, who has worked for the L.A. Times for 30 years.

“What we’re asking for is not unreasonable. We don’t want any cuts, but if there has to be cuts, we want to have buyouts,” L.A. Times reporter Jaclyn Cosgrove told Eyewitness. “We want to have buyouts that are reasonable enough for our members to take.”

The one-day strike occurred after management announced journalists would be laid off in the near future. The exact number is unclear, but reports say it could be as much as 20%. Last year, 74 newsroom positions were cut because of a decline in advertising.

The union has accused L.A. Times management of unfair labor practices.

“The proposed cuts would gut the newsroom,” Hall said. “It would cut a wide swath through the staff and would hobble our ability to cover the city and the communities, the regions, the state, the country.

“All of this in this current election year. Never have we needed a stronger, more vital, more muscular paper than now.”

Nearly six years ago, the newspaper was purchased by local billionaire Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong.

In a statement, management said: “The Los Angeles Times has not missed a day of publishing in 142 years and we are publishing today. We are disappointed in the Guild’s decision, but respect their right to strike.”

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