Fired News-Press Printer Speaks Out

The internal happenings at the Santa Barbara News-Press continue to spill out onto the pages of local newspapers and news blogs, as evidenced by Craig Smith’s news of the terminations of press room workers Ramon Lopez and Carl Batchelder on his blog Wednesday.

Batchelder, a former press room supervisor, ended his 26-year stint working for the paper’s Goleta printing plant at about 1:30 a.m. on Tuesday morning, when he says he and Lopez were told they would no longer be employed there. Batchelder said the news came as a surprise, though in-office mutters and the presence of N-P human resources director Yolanda Apodaca led him to believe that something of importance was happening. (On his blog, Smith claims that Apodaca has become known as the “Angel of Death” for her role in the termination of so many employees.) “I did not expect to be fired, no,” said Batchelder. “I thought I was toeing the line expected to be toed.”

Batchelder shied away from conjecture that his termination may have resulted from union activities. Although he was concerned about employee representation, Batchelder noted that neither his nor Lopez’s autographs appeared on a February 14 full-page ad featuring N-P employees thanking publisher Wendy McCaw for her service to the community.

“[It was] pretty much like if your name wasn’t on it, your name might be suspect,” he said, but added that other events could be construed as having led to his termination. He said he had recently been rebuked by press room management for not removing plates from the press in order to prepare for new printings the following day. According to Batchelder, his superiors said this violated a policy of the printing plant, though he added the policy was never mentioned any other time during his employment

“I said that we had never had a policy like this,” he said. According to Batchelder his co-workers never mentioned any inconvenience for anyone working the next day’s shift.

Lopez could not be reached for comment.

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