Agency Dismisses Claim By Santa Barbara Newspaper Against Union

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A federal agency has dismissed a claim brought by the Santa Barbara News-Press against an employees union, concluding the newspaper failed to provide sufficient evidence that the union tried to interfere with newspaper sales.

In an April 3 ruling, the National Labor Relations Board rejected arguments by newspaper management that the Graphics Communications Conference of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters coerced or threatened employees and others to hurt sales of the paper at the Santa Barbara Farmers Market.

The newspaper also claimed Teamsters members impeded pedestrians at the market from buying the newspaper.

“News-Press has now filed no fewer than 10 charges against the union, and all have been investigated and dismissed by the federal labor law agency,” Ira L. Gottlieb, an attorney for the Teamsters, said in a statement Tuesday.

The News-Press is owned by Ampersand Publishing LLC, which is headed by Wendy McCaw.

A. Barry Cappello, outside counsel for the News-Press, said the ruling was ?part and parcel of what’s apparently a pro-union bias by the NLRB staff.?

The newspaper plans to file an appeal, he said.

The ruling marked the latest dispute between the News-Press and the union since July 2006, when nearly every top editor at the paper quit in protest over what they said was the owner’s interference with news coverage.

Newsroom employees voted to form a union two months later, and they have been fighting with the newspaper since then over the legitimacy of the vote, which has been certified by the NLRB.

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