‘Santa Barbara News-Press’ Triumphs in Labor Dispute

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The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has sided with the Santa Barbara News-Press in a labor dispute.

The court ruled Tuesday that forcing the newspaper to rehire employees fired for union activity aimed at management to give up editorial content control violates the publisher’s First Amendment rights.

The ruling stems from a newsroom dispute that began in mid-2006. Nearly every top editor at the paper quit in protest over what they said was the owner’s interference with news coverage.

Publisher Wendy McCaw has testified that concerns about biased reporting led to the dismissal of two workers in January 2007.

Six other reporters were fired a month later after protesting the previous two firings.

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