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THE

Defender Picks

 

SAMEDI

August 23rd

Big Easy Rollergirls Double Header
UNO Human Performance Center, 5 p.m.

vs. TBA

 

Nymphomaniac Volume 1
Indywood, 6:30p.m.
Indywood screens Lars von Triers’ sex drama

 

Brewsiana

House of Blues, 7p.m.

Craft brew & music fest ft. Colin Lake, Brass Bed, The Wooden Wings & more ($15)

 

Jake Owen
Champions Square, 7p.m.
Pop-country personified ($42+)

 

Crosby, Stills & Nash
Saenger Theatre, 8p.m.
Fathers of popular folk music ($80+)

 

Bug
Allways Lounge, 8p.m.
Darkly comedic play written by Tracy Letts

 

HipHoptions Launch Party
Gasa Gasa, 9p.m.
Ft. Bujie and The HighRise, Rei The Imperial, DIVVVY UP, Meta//Quirk

 

Lillian Axe
Tipitina’s, 9p.m.
Hard rock from NOLA ($15)

 

Papa Mali
Freret Street Publiq House, 10p.m.
With Lightnin Malcolm

 

The Kodiaks
the BEATnik, 10p.m.
Louisville, KY punks

 

TNM Presents: The Megaphone Show
Shadowbox Theatre, 10:30p.m.

The New Movement’s flagship storytelling improv show ($8)

DIMANCHE

August 24th

Micah McKee & Little Maker
Circle Bar, 5-9p.m.

Free music for happy hour

 

Nymphomaniac Volume 1
Indywood, 6:30p.m.
Indywood screens Lars von Triers’ sex drama

 

24 Hour Play Festival
Shadowbox Theatre, 8p.m.
Flambeaux Theatre writes and stages seven 10-minute plays in one day ($12)

 

Gal Holiday & the Honky-Tonk Revue
Chickie Wah Wah, 8p.m.
Authentic N.O. honky-tonk rock

 

Alligator Chomp Chomp

One Eyed Jacks, 10p.m.

A Louisiana and Gulf Coast vinyl dance party (free)

LUNDI

August 25th

Nymphomaniac Volume 1
Indywood, 6:30p.m.
Indywood screens Lars von Triers’ sex drama

 

Poupoupidou (Nobody Else But You)
Café Istanbul, 7p.m.
A crime novelist investigates an apparent suicide in Gérald Hustache-Mathieu’s thriller ($5)

 

California X, Heat Dust, Pope
Saturn Bar, 9p.m.
Noisy garage punk from western Mass ($5)

 

King James & the Special Men
BJ's Lounge, 10p.m.
Weekly gig in the Bywater for downtown rhythm and blues

 

Doyle, Ashylus, The Bills
Siberia, 10p.m.
Solo project from ex-Misfits guitarist Doyle Wolfgang Von Frankenstein ($15)

MARDI

August 26th

Michael Pitre: Five and Twenty-Fives
Octavia Books, 6p.m.
Iraq vet presents his debut war novel

 

Kermit Ruffins & The BBQ Swingers
Bullet’s Sports Bar, 7p.m.
See Kermit at home in the 7th Ward and get to bed early

 

Hard Girls, Broadcaster
Gasa Gasa, 9p.m.
Powerpop from both coasts, plus All People & Donovan Wolfington ($8)

 

Nymphomaniac Volume 1
Indywood, 9:15p.m.
Indywood screens Lars von Triers’ sex drama

 

Open Ears Music Series
Blue Nile, 10p.m.
This week ft. Piero Bittolo Bon & Marta Raviglia with James Singleton & Marcello Benetti ($10)


Laid-Off Times-Picayune Employees Sue Newspaper, Parent Company Over Now-Defunct Job Security Pledge


Seven former longtime employees of The Times-Picayune in New Orleans who were laid off from their jobs in the fall of 2012 during corporate owner Advance Publications’ radical restructuring of the newspaper and more than a dozen others it owns around the country have filed suit against the newspaper and Advance, alleging “unlawful employment practices.”

 

The suits, filed individually in Orleans Parish Civil District Court Wednesday, allege that the companies violated Advance’s now-rescinded Pledge, an extraordinary and unusual job security pact the company’s controlling Newhouse media family enacted nearly 50 years ago to keep organized labor at bay at its newspapers stretching from Portland, Oregon, to Mobile, Alabama. The Pledge was rescinded in early 2010 amid a freefall in the U.S. newspaper industry that sent once highly lucrative profit margins plummeting.

 

Metairie attorneys Charles Taylor and Edmund W. Golden, who filed the suits on behalf of the employees, did not return voice mail messages seeking comment. Neither Times-Picayune Publisher Ricky Mathews nor Advance executive Steven Newhouse responded to email requests for interviews, and attempts to contact several of the plaintiffs also were unsuccessful. A person familiar with the lawsuits said that additional suits are expected, but that the initial seven were filed because they were regarded as among the strongest legally of potential cases.

 

The seven employees suing the companies worked in a variety of departments, from the newsroom to IT, for a combined total of more than 165 years, with tenures of between 15 and 40 years. The suits assert that the employees were protected by the Pledge, but were terminated when Advance undertook its dramatic “digital first” restructuring at The Times-Picayune in the fall of 2012.

 

None were given an opportunity to reapply for their jobs and each was then replaced by “a younger, lesser-paid employee,” the near-identical suits assert. The suits also directly allege violations the Age Discrimination in Employment Act in 1967, saying Advance "conspired to rid their newspapers of older workers."

 

The plaintiffs are: newspaper stuffer helper Keith Catalanotto; graphic artist Patricia Gonzalez; reporter Vivian Hernandez; graphic designer Aileen Kelly; systems analyst Ulpiano Lugo advertising floater Patricia Pitt; and copy editor Stephanie Stroud Naylor.

 

When it was originally instituted in the mid-1960s, the Pledge promised employees would not lose their jobs “because of technological changes or economic conditions so long as the newspaper continues to publish and [employees] are willing to retrain for another job, if necessary.” It was later modified to include only permanent, non-union employees of daily newspapers published in newsprint form. This revision clearly foreshadowed the changes that would include mass layoffs at Advance newspapers from coast-to-coast in late 2012 and early 2013, and make many three-or-four-day-a-week publications.

 

Wednesday’s suits weren’t the first time the company has tangled with employees over the Pledge.

 

In August 2009, former publisher of the Advance-owned Mobile, Ala. Press-Register, Howard Bronson, 72, was dismissed from his $745,000-a-year position in illegal violation of the Pledge, he contended in a $7.3 million lawsuit he brought against the newspaper and Advance. During the subsequent 2011 trial, Bronson testified that he agreed to relocate and become the Press-Register’s publisher at 55 only after repeated assurances from longtime Advance newspaper top executive Donald Newhouse and his nephew, Advance executive vice president Mark Newhouse, that he would be covered by the Pledge and would be free to work as long as he wished.

 

In pre-trial motions regarding depositions related to the trial, Bronson’s attorney, Vince Kilborn, contended that the company feared the precedent the case would set for scores of Advance employees previously covered by the Pledge, who had been or would be laid off after its revocation. (The Pledge was revoked between Bronson filing his suit and it coming to trial.)

 

The suit was settled out of court in April 2011 for an undisclosed sum, shortly before the jury was to hear closing arguments.

 

How concerned the secretive Newhouse family is about residual liability related to the Pledge is presumably known only by family members, a handful of trusted lieutenants and their legions of attorneys. But at least some industry observers have speculated that there is reason for concern. “The ultimate question here is whether Advance thought it had a serious legal liability due to the Pledge,” Ryan Chittum, an editor with the Columbia Journalism Review, wrote in June 2013 about the pact’s revocation. “Can you promise employees that ‘no full-time, non-represented, regular employee will ever be laid off because of economic conditions or because of the introduction of new technology’ and then unilaterally say ‘Oopsie! We don’t mean that anymore’? I don’t think so.”

 

Rebecca Theim was a reporter at The Times-Picayune from 1988-94. Her book,Hell and High Water: The Battle to Save the Daily New Orleans Times-Picayune, was published in October by Gretna’s Pelican Publishing Co. Follow Rebecca Theim on Twitter @RebeccaTheim. 




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Contributors:

Dead Huey Long, Emma Boyce, Elizabeth Davas, Ian Hoch, Lindsay Mack, Anna Gaca, Jason Raymond, Lee Matalone, Phil Yiannopoulos, Joe Shriner, Chris Staudinger, Chef Anthony Scanio, Tierney Monaghan, Stacy Coco, Rob Ingraham,

Staff Writers

Cheryl Castjohn, Sam Nelson

Listings Editor

Anna Gaca

Art Listings

Cheryl Castjohn

Photographers

Brandon Roberts, Rachel June, Daniel Paschall

Film Critic

Jason Raymond

Puzzler

Paolo Roy

Art Director:

Michael Weber, B.A.

Editor:

B. E. Mintz

Published Daily by

Minced Media, Inc.

Editor Emeritus



Stephen Babcock