The L.A. Weekly is the more successful of the two alternative weeklies in Los Angeles (the other is the Jill Stewart-blessed New Times); it tears vigorously at the ankles of the local establishment with a variety of generically progressive reportage, blended with feet and feet of ads for sexual vigor, plastic surgery, clothes, furniture, dates and escorts – which make it a cash cow for its owner, Village Voice publications.
Occasionally, they will pull off a great article, like this leftist critique of the anti-war movement. But like much of the Los Angeles progressive (as opposed to Progressive) community, the paper has satisfied its yearning for political stance by supporting Mumia, opposing the LAPD, talking Eastside while selling Westside, and vigorously supporting union organization.
Until it came home to roost.
In todays Times, the Empire gets a chance to strike back.
Last May, members of the paper’s advertising staff–concerned about escalating sales targets, post-Sept. 11 layoffs and other job security issues–petitioned to join their colleagues’ local.
Given the Weekly’s unwavering editorial stance as a reportorial champion and unapologetic political ally of organized labor, employees were stunned when the paper’s recently appointed publisher, Beth Sestanovich, and her aides deployed every means at their disposal to try to defeat the organizing campaign.
As a consequence, this Friday’s representational election is deemed too close to call.
[publisher] Sestanovich said, “We believe that when you look at the highly individual and entrepreneurial work of advertising salespeople, union representation just isn’t in the interest of those employees. We coexist with our existing union without friction, and I know that it has surprised many of its members that we would contest extension of their union. But I feel strongly that every employee has a right to make a free and informed choice about this.”
Now, Ive talked about SkyBox liberalism before.
And I cant think of a better example of it than a paper which aggressively supports unions for everyone else.