LA Times newsroom votes to unionize after long fight with management

"As of this morning, Ross Levinsohn has voluntrarily (sic) agreed to take an unpaid leave of absence, effective immediately", said tronc Chief Executive Justin Dearborn in a memo to staff.

The Los Angeles Times has given prominent coverage to recent revelations of sexual harassment of women by prominent men, particularly in entertainment and media.

The confirmation of a union victory comes as Tronc announced it was launching an investigation into the paper's CEO and publisher, Ross Levinsohn, after NPR reported that he had admitted under oath to ranking the looks of female colleagues and discussing whether a colleague worked as a stripper, among other incidents.

He was also described by the report as a homophobe.

Tronc did not say whether Levinsohn would be placed on leave or suspended during the investigation.

The allegations prompted an immediately and furious response from Levinsohn's newsroom, with the Los Angeles Times Guild organizing committee - made up of dozens of employees at the paper - saying it was "appalled by the findings in the NPR story".

The Los Angeles Times has been out front doing some serious reporting on numerous sexual harassment and assault scandals that have plagued powerful men in media and entertainment this past year, so it comes as quite a surprise that their CEO and publisher, Ross Levinsohn, has now been accused of similar actions.

He was also accused in the report of using a gay slur when explaining to an executive why he didn't want to attend a 2013 luncheon held by THR. The report said Levinsohn was sued when he was an executive at two separate companies, including the search engine AltaVista.

The final vote count was 248 in favor and 44 against, according to the tweet by the guild.

Prior to Dearborn's announcement, the Times newsroom had been speaking up loudly against Levinsohn. Folkenflik's NPR story covers various portions of Levinsohn's career, including his time at Yahoo. And given that editors and executives at other media companies have been forced out under similar allegations and revelations, the anticipation of what will ultimately happen to Levinsohn is high. In other words, the Times has been rapidly cycling through leadership with inky credentials, but no one's been able to fix the paper's problems-so now a newspaper-industry virgin gets to try his hand at saving the day.

Investigative reporter Paul Pringle said the landslide victory sends a message to Tronc. 'At Tronc, we expect all employees to act in a way that supports a culture of diversity and inclusion. "We will not hesitate to take further action, if appropriate, once the review is complete".

Dearborn added Mickie Rosen will lead the LA Times and Lewis D'Vorkin will lead the newsroom in Levinsohn's absence.

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