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Saturday, Mar 2, 2024

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dailynews/11″/1stjc/mark2nd DAN TURNER Staff Reporter The Daily News of Los Angeles has agreed to contribute $500,000 to the Economic Alliance of the San Fernando Valley, the largest private donation ever received by the group. The alliance was created in the wake of the 1994 Northridge earthquake to rebuild the Valley economy and improve its image. “The Valley really is Daily News territory. They’re very interested in its economic future,” said attorney David Fleming, chairman of the Economic Alliance. The group launched a fundraising drive in December with a target of $7.5 million. The $500,000 contribution from the Daily News will be paid at a rate of $100,000 a year for the next four years; the first installment was paid last month. The Economic Alliance helps Valley companies obtain business loans, sponsors training classes and promotes the Valley to business leaders. Fleming said he personally solicited the contribution from Daily News Publisher Larry Beasley, who did not return calls for comment. The newspaper did announce its donation in a prominent, front-page story on Jan. 17, several days after inquiries were initially made by the Business Journal. The $500,000 donation took some media watchers by surprise, given the company’s severe cost cutting in recent years and a still-precarious financial outlook. “They’re very, very cheap,” said attorney Ellen Greenstone of the Pasadena firm Rothner, Segall, Bahan & Greenstone, which represents the National Labor Relations Board in a years-long complaint against the paper. “I don’t know whether that comes from a position of financial hardship or not.” The NLRB contends that the Daily News owes its employees $1.2 million in back pay and interest because the paper suspended merit pay raises in 1989 after its editorial employees certified a local branch of the Newspaper Guild. The board contends the suspension of raises amounted to punishment for unionizing a violation of federal law. Merit raises were reinstated in 1991 after a collective bargaining agreement was signed with the Newspaper Guild. A decision by an administrative law judge to uphold the NLRB’s complaint was under appeal by the Daily News before the U.S. Supreme Court until last month, when the high court declined to review the case. A hearing is set for April 7 to determine the exact amount the Daily News will have to pay its employees. Attorney Thomas Burke, managing partner of the downtown L.A. office of Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison LLP which represents the Daily News, said the NLRB’s $1.2 million estimate is way off. According to the Daily News’ calculations, it owes its employees less than half that sum, he said.

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