If right-wing political donor Joe Ricketts intended to intimidate union organizers when he abruptly shut down two news sites he owns, the union representing DC-area news reporters isn't buying it. "That's just pathetic," said Newspaper Guild 32035 president Robert Struckman, while Guild Executive Director Cet Parks said the shutdown "has not chilled any organizing efforts at WBNG." Ricketts, the founder of TD Ameritrade and a major funder on the right, is the owner of DNAinfo, a local news site that covered New York City, Chicago and DC, as well as Gothamist, a network of city-oriented websites that DNAinfo bought this year. Employees there voted 25-2 last week to join the Writers Guild of America, East, and Ricketts shut down both sites last Thursday. Struckman called Ricketts "a petulant billionaire," and said the shutdown "won't slow down the acceleration of unionism in professional spaces. Unions create value, and we want a seat at the table to lift and uphold the quality of jobs in our professions." The Guild is planning a major picket line on November 14 in connection with their ongoing battle for a new contract at The Washington Post, owned by billionaire Jeff Bezos.
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- photo (top right): at recent Post demo, from Washington Baltimore News Guild Facebook page