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May
2013
17

Building Trades Join Union Protest Over Sale of Tribune Co. Newspapers to the Koch Brothers

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The potential sale of the Los Angeles Times (LAT) to the Koch Brothers’ empire has sparked outrage from a wide array of onlookers with the newspaper’s employees apparently leading the charge.

Both right-leaning Hot Air and the Washington Post write that at a recent in-house awards ceremony, LAT columnist Steve Lopez asked his fellow workers how many of them would quit if the Koch Brothers bought the paper. Half of them raised their hands.

Unions have been among the most vocal critics of the possible purchase, perhaps because they have felt the brunt of the Koch brand of politics. At a recent march against Oaktree Capital Management, 20 percent owners of parent company, Tribune Co. and handlers of union pension funds, hundreds of workers chanted:

“Don’t sell out to the Koch brothers / Don’t let the brothers in the door. We don’t want them taking over / That is what we’re marching for.”

The State Building and Construction Trades Council of California (SBCTC) joined in the protest and urged Oaktree Capital not to sell due to the Koch Brothers long history of being ““anti-labor, anti-environment, anti-public education and anti-immigrant.” In a letter from the SBCTC to Bruce Karsh, president of Oaktree Capital Management, union members warn that if bought the LAT would become a vehicle for the Koch Brothers to continue their rampant distortion of facts about unions. The letter, signed by several prominent labor leaders, also highlights the Koch Brothers ties to conservative groups such as Americans for Prosperity and the American Legislative Exchange Council.

These protests concentrated around the sale of the Los Angeles Times but the actual Tribune Co. sale to the Kochs, if completed, would result in all eight of the conglomerate’s newspapers winding up in sullied, partisan hands. This would mean prominent papers including the Chicago Tribune, Baltimore Sun, Orlando Sentinel and Hartford Courant would no longer be trustworthy either.

Daily Kos is currently organizing an anti-sale action in conjunction with SEIU in which anyone can participate.

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