To the great surprise of many, Wendy McCaw, owner of the Santa Barbara News-Press, has chosen not to appeal a federal court decision that requires her, among other things, to offer reinstatement and back pay to former columnist Richard Mineards.
Mineards, now columnist for the weekly Montecito Journal, estimates that “given the 10 percent legal interest annually and the doubling every five years” he will be due a staggering $2 million in back pay. He was laid off January 9, 2009.
It will double again if matters are not concluded by January, 2018, the 10th anniversary of his layoff, he said.
McCaw is also required to offer reinstatement and back pay to former sports reporter Dennis Moran, fired while heading the newsroom contract negotiating committee. The National Labor Relations Board charged that Mineards and Moran’s discharges were unfair labor acts. Mineards said he has no intention of leaving the Journal to return to the News-Press. It’s not known whether Moran, who no longer lives here, might accept the offer.
Over the years since the News-Press meltdown in 2006 and newsroom employees affiliated with the Teamsters Union, McCaw has won a series of court victories fighting the union, at presumably great legal expense, so her decision not to appeal the latest court setback in Washington comes as a surprise.
McCaw was found to have failed to bargain in good faith since contract talks began in November 2007. When the required bargaining talks will resume has not been announced.