Award-winning journalist Melinda Burns worked for the Santa Barbara News-Press for 21 years.  She was a senior writer covering regional affairs, including oil, water, transportation before being fired in 2006 (one month after the newsroom workers voted overwhelmingly to join the Teamsters GCC). In August of 2011, the NLRB ruled that the News-Press must reinstate Melinda and her colleagues who were fired for union activism.

Victory for Workers’ Rights in Santa Barbara “News-Press Mess”

In a sweeping decision, the National Labor Relations Board last week ordered the Santa Barbara News-Press to reinstate me and seven other reporters who were illegally fired nearly five years ago, after our newsroom voted to unionize. I was the first to be escorted out of the building in October, 2006, one month after we voted overwhelmingly to join the union. I was a senior writer, I had been at the paper for 21 years, and I had won local, state, regional and national awards for the paper with my reporting.

Back in July of 2006, the News-Press newsroom faced a crisis. Five top editors resigned, alleging that Wendy McCaw, the multimillionaire owner, was improperly meddling in news coverage, in part by arbitrarily disciplining her own reporters and editors. In September of that year, seeking to protect our professional integrity and job security, we newsroom employees voted 33-6 to join the Graphics Communications Conference of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.