Union drops lawsuit against Daily News

first_imgThe union representing most Department of Water and Power workers has dropped its lawsuit against the Daily News over publishing employees’ names, positions and salaries online and has agreed to pay $17,213 in attorney fees and costs. The settlement between the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 18, and the Daily News Publishing Company was reached Monday. The union filed in court Nov. 15 to have its lawsuit dismissed. The union representing nearly 8,500 DWP workers twice failed in Superior Court to persuade a judge to bar the newspaper from continuing to post workers’ salary information obtained under the California Public Records Act. In rejecting the union’s claims, Superior Court Judge Dzintra Janavs said Nov. 1 that the union had failed to show either a need to exempt all employees’ salaries from disclosure or to identify and show a need to exempt particular groups’ information from disclosure. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREPettersson scores another winner, Canucks beat KingsThe Daily News reported earlier this year that DWP employees’ salaries average $76,949 a year or nearly 20percent more than the average Los Angeles municipal worker. Two years ago, IBEW Local 18 won a five-year contract guaranteeing worker raises of 16.8percent – and up to 28percent, depending on inflation. That contract helped drive a recent five-year contract with raises of about 23percent for most of the city’s 22,000 municipal workers. The Daily News first posted the DWP workers’ salary information online Sept. 30 at www.dailynews.com. The California Supreme Court recently upheld that such information is not exempt from disclosure under the California Public Records Act and that disclosure does not constitute an “unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.” “The fact that the union dismissed its lawsuit says that they recognized it didn’t have any merit,” said James Chadwick, a media and entertainment-industry attorney representing the Daily News. The union’s agreement to pay $17,213 in fees and costs settled a lawsuit by the newspaper that alleged that the union’s action was a SLAPP case – a Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation, intended to prevent citizens from exercising their political rights or to punish those who have done so. “The California anti-SLAPP (statute) is designed for just this purpose, to make sure that when you’re sued in a meritless lawsuit you’re not forced to bear the costs. That’s why we filed an anti-SLAPP to dismiss the lawsuit, and that’s why they’re agreeing to pay our fees,” Chadwick said. Robert Dohrmann, the attorney representing the union, did not return calls Thursday. Brian D’Arcy, IBEW Local 18’s business manager, also did not return calls for comment. D’Arcy – who was paid $248,435 out of the nearly $6.5million in membership dues and assessments collected in 2006, according to IRS records – has been the driving political force behind the union, which historically has won some of the most lucrative contracts in the city. [email protected] 818-713-3731160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img

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