Saturday, February 14, 2009

Saturday Feb. 14 -- Got news or a question? Or a layoff rumor?

If you have news or a question, leave it in comments.
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36 comments:

Archer05 said...

BusinessWeek-
Suit against Bee alleges it mistreats newspaper's carriers
[The Sacramento Bee, Calif.]

Feb. 14--A Santa Ana lawyer has charged in a lawsuit against The Sacramento Bee that the newspaper violates state labor laws in its deployment of the carriers who deliver the paper.

Attorney Daniel J. Callahan charges in a 21-page lawsuit filed Feb. 5 that the carriers are employees of the company and that The Bee is engaging in unfair business practices by not consistently paying them minimum wage or overtime.
http://tinyurl.com/bzybq9

Anonymous said...

This will be MNI's Achille's heel. ICs and freelancers have long been given the same treatment and expectations as full timers. Back taxes and penalties could run into the millions.

Anonymous said...

To little too late? Will a Chapter 7/11 filing cure this?

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't get my hopes up too much with this. These guys have a whole boat load of case law all over the country backing up their "carrier" rape, and yes, virtually everything they did to them was against state and federal labor laws. Unfortunately they didn't care because the laws that they knowingly violated carried no penalty aside from being found in violation.

In Kansas City it was so bad that they literally shopped around for their own judge and stole the routes from the carriers who literally bought the routes for hundreds of thousands of dollars and took care of all deliveries.

Not only were these people out their entire family fortunes, the Star then turned the routes over to prison parolees, known baby rapers, a murderer, and illegal aliens. All this with the stamp of approval from a Judge.

Best of luck, but never underestimate the corruption of your judicial system. Especially when the violator can write a puff piece making the Judge appear a benevolent god.

Archer05 said...

Important words:
“Class Action“
“Presently or formerly”

“Neither Callahan nor Schaub said how many carriers might be affected by the [Sacramento class action.] The lawsuit is looking to represent "all persons [presently or formerly] engaged as newspaper home delivery carriers" for the paper.”

Anonymous said...

I now look for my KC Star paper out in the street. Call and complain then you just don't get for a few mornings.

These carriers are contractors not employees.

Anonymous said...

The Orange County Register settled against a similar lawsuit. The O.C.Reg agreed to to pay its newspaper carriers up to $22 million. Tack on another 14 million or so for legal fees, and it's a good chunk of blubber.

Attorney Callahan is the same shark circling the dying MNI whale, that snacked on the O.C. Register.

Jest fighting this in Court will cost the Bees money it can ill afford to spend.

Anonymous said...

Attorney Callahan is the same shark circling the dying MNI whale, that snacked on the O.C. Register.
----------

Lawyers are like hag fish, not sharks. That said, today I root for the scavenger.

Archer05 said...

7:11 AM
That was a good post. I would guess CA judges are even worse. However, it does tie MNI into another negative lawsuit, and who knows what lies ahead? They better stay on the up and up with their employees. This time, a lot of bloggers are watching, and the employees themselves are digging for information. Sweeping facts under the carpet, just got a lot more difficult in my opinion.

Anonymous said...

How long ago was that KC lawsuit?

Anonymous said...

The problem with a "Class Action" or any kind of lawsuit. NO MONEY! McClatchy is broke. If it goes to Chapter 11 the Banks come first.

Anonymous said...

2002
Newspaper carriers dispute
'contractor' label-

It's a great day for the carriers, because they have endured nearly six years of litigation,"
Monday, October 20, 2008

2009 - 2015
Six years of litigation?
Good luck with that.

Anonymous said...

What's as shocking, is that this dirty little MNI secret stayed semi-secret for so long

Anonymous said...

10:49 It was a KR paper then or was it a Cap. Cities?

Anonymous said...

I always wonder what each person actually recieved after these class action suits are settled for millions.

My parents were in a suit against Sears once, and they received a check for $12.00

Anonymous said...

More Obama Press control demands:

Politico backs out of event at NPC over Plouffe's off-the-record demand
Politico.com

Politico editor-in-chief John Harris decided not to moderate the "Transition 2009" luncheon at the National Press Club Thursday after hearing that Obama campaign manager David Plouffe (left) insisted his speech be off-the-record. Harris says Politico isn't "in the business of sponsoring, or co-sponsoring, an off-the-record talk with a newsworthy person."

> Harris: "I'm not trying to be on a high horse about this, but..."
> Milbank: What Plouffe did at the press club takes a lot of nerve

Anonymous said...

12:32 Yep! Attorneys get the money but in the case of McClatchy there isn't any to be had.

They could also file Chapter 11, banks come first. 2B dollar debt. Do you really think you could get any money. Dream on.

Time would be better spent looking for a new job.

Anonymous said...

-banks come first. 2B dollar debt. Do you really think you could get any money.-

Well, it would be the IRS with their hand out, and I don't think they need to be a party to any class action suits and unpaid employment taxes and medicare on missclassified workers are probably right up there with secured debt.

Anonymous said...

2:37 Really. Maybe you should read their balance sheet and then come back.

Anonymous said...

-Really. Maybe you should read their balance sheet and then come back.-

Why would I need to read their balance sheet?

it's all right here
www.irs.gov/irm/part5/ch17s09.html

individuals can be held liable for 100% penalties on misclassified workers employment taxes

Anonymous said...

In the KC Star case, the attorneys were awarded 14 million dollars in legal fees. If McClatchy goes bankrupt, and that erases all their obligations, like the class action suit. It seems as if the attorneys might not get paid a dime. I can’t see them entering into a situation that they think might not have a payday.

Anonymous said...

The new KC Star contracts require that the carrier indemnify the Star against any losses, etc. as a result of a lawsuit under any state or federal laws. This means that the carrier pays the legal bill for the Star if they sue. Can this be legal?

Anonymous said...

Tribune, Zell Named in Employees' Suit.

The lawsuit, filed in a Los Angeles federal court, alleges Tribune and Mr. Zell have failed to uphold their fiduciary duty to the company's employee stock-ownership plan, Tribune's majority owner.

*The lawsuit also claims Mr. Zell and other Tribune officials have improperly raided worker pension funds.*

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122160625807845343.html?mod=googlenews_wsj

Anonymous said...

-Can this be legal?-

yup

if they sign the contract

Anonymous said...

The new KC Star contracts require that the carrier indemnify the Star against any losses, etc. as a result of a lawsuit under any state or federal laws. This means that the carrier pays the legal bill for the Star if they sue. Can this be legal?
---
Legal? Sure, you can put anything in a contract that they like. Enforceability though is another question. No judge in his right mind is going to look at that and allow the defendant the right to dictate the terms and conditions of a judgment. A judge on the take, just might subscribe.

It is just an intimidation tactic to make the victim believe that he has no recourse.

Anonymous said...

I found this on the CA lawsuit. The employees did win both cases.

Posted On: December 8, 2008 by Greenberg & Rudman

ORANGE COUNTY NEWSPAPER SETTLES EMPLOYMENT LAWSUIT FOR OVERTIME PAY

Employees of an Orange County, CA newspaper recently settled a lawsuit against their employer, the newspaper, for improperly categorizing them as independent contractors.

The employees alleged that the newspaper mis-categorized them in order to avoid paying the employees overtime pay and other required fees. As a result, the employees were awarded $22 million in damages.

In California, your employer is required by law to pay you according to CA labor guidelines. An experienced employment lawyer can go over these specific rules with you. Additionally, your employer cannot cheat the system by not paying you the wages you are lawfully owed by unfairly and unlawfully mis-categorizing the status of your employment (part time vs. full time, employee vs. independent contractor).

Anonymous said...

What is wrong with you people? You can sue all you want THEY HAVE NO MONEY. They sell a product that nobody wants. They have assets that nobody wants.

Anonymous said...

This is a long article that includes comments by the jurors. I chose some excerpts, but I thought the whole article had interesting information.
***
Register settles lawsuit by newspaper carriers

Settlement allows the company to "move forward," CEO says. Costs could be as much as $36 million.
By JOHN GITTELSOHN

Excerpts:
Before the trial began Sept. 22, Orange County Superior Court Judge David C. Velasquez had admonished and [fined the Register for withholding and destroying evidence] that could have demonstrated its policies to control carriers. Register attorneys had said the documents were deleted automatically by the company's e-mail system and they did not believe the deletion would have any impact on the case.

The five named plaintiffs in the suit will each receive $35,000 in addition to a share of the $22 million.

Newspaper carriers in other states have filed similar complaints, which resulted in conflicting outcomes.

In 1998, the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that newspaper carriers for the Kansas City Star were not entitled to be paid as employees because they had signed contracts to work as "delivery agents" who were independent contractors.

In September, a Massachusetts state appeals court ruled that a laid-off carrier for the Worcester Telegram & Gazette was entitled to collect unemployment payments, rejecting the newspaper's contention that he had worked as an independent contractor.

http://www.ocregister.com/articles/carriers-register-newspaper-2239274-million-settlemen

Anonymous said...

After a five-year protracted litigation, and a two month trial, the Register settled
the lawsuit for $22 million, the plaintiffs had demanded $88 million.

Something told the Register things didn’t look too good I would say.

Anonymous said...

Withholding and destroying evidence! Really? The watchdogs?


...admonished and [fined the Register for withholding and destroying evidence] that could have demonstrated its policies to control carriers.

Anonymous said...

The total cost to the Register could total $48 million. However each carrier had to apply individually for the settlement payment. One speculation was only 50% would actually apply. Any funds not paid out will be returned to the Register.

Anonymous said...

SacBee Carrier Lawsuit: Just Settle it.
The history looks bad for Pru & Co.
The Register’s CEO decided after five years of litigation, and a two month trial, to settle. He says it is the economic downturn, and the need to move on. This doesn’t look good for McClatchy, if the details are the same.

Anonymous said...

Sacbee & Register - Carrier Lawsuit Similarities?
It could be that a recent case in the same state would be good news for the carriers. If McClatchy is trying to paint a picture of economic stabilization, a lawsuit would not be helpful. $22 million is chump change to Pruitt. What is his salary now?

Anonymous said...

Jury quote “penalized for arriving late”
"I tried to keep an open mind," said Evanne Connors, a special education teacher from Seal Beach who served on the jury. "But I thought the time part – that they would be penalized for arriving late – made it seem like they were employees."

Anonymous said...

Yeah right, delivering newspapers has a future?

“Callahan said the agreement will cost the Register $6 million in additional compensation to carriers over the coming decade.”

Anonymous said...

Share of $22 million?
Each = ($4400)?

“The suit was filed on behalf of 5,000 carriers.
The five named plaintiffs in the suit will each receive $35,000 in addition to a share of the $22 million.”