News & Commentary

January 19, 2024

Greg Volynsky

Greg Volynsky is a student at Harvard Law School.

In Today’s News & Commentary, the L.A. Times Guild plans a walkout, dissent in Teamsters after union president meets with Trump, and a drop in average weekly work hours. 

The L.A. Times Newsroom Guild plans a one-day walkout to protest planned layoffs, which are expected to affect about 20% of the newsroom. The strike will be the first union work stoppage in the 142-year-history of the L.A. Times. In negotiations, management asked union leaders to relax the seniority principle, which is enshrined in the collective bargaining agreement and protects staff members with longer tenure at the paper. Managers argued that relaxing seniority rules would save 50 newsroom jobs, enable management to extend employees buyout packages, and facilitate a more diverse newsroom, since many journalists of color have been hired more recently. Forced to choose between more layoffs and sacrificing long-term staff, Guild leaders “were furious.” 

Teamsters President Sean O’Brien met with former President Trump in early January and announced a roundtable with the former president. On Thursday, The Guardian reported dissent within the union. Local union leaders decried the move as betraying the union’s values. A Teamsters spokesperson called it a “disservice” to ignore the Republican front-runner. 

Bloomberg reports that average weekly work hours have dropped to 34.4 in December, from a pandemic high of 35. Columnist Conor Sen argues that despite a healthy stock market and decelerating inflation, companies have seen a decrease in their pricing power, leading companies to seek ways to shed costs. 

Enjoy OnLabor’s fresh takes on the day’s labor news, right in your inbox.