Star Tribune loses legal battle
U.S. District Court Judge Paul Magnuson ruled this week that an arbitrator acted properly in determining that the Strib had violated its collective bargaining agreement with the Minnesota Newspaper Guild Typographical Union.
The dispute dates back to 2004 when the Minneapolis daily published five news articles by Douglas in the A and B sections of the paper. The WCCO weatherman has long penned a daily column for the Strib, but it's normally confined to the back page of the B section.
The Newspaper Guild determined that this violated the union's labor agreement and filed a formal grievance. The matter was turned over to an arbitrator, James Lundberg, and in March he ruled in the guild's favor. Lundberg noted that in the past 14 years the only freelance expert articles appearing in section A or B were the five penned by Douglas. (See Mike Mosedale's news story on the dispute.)
Normally this would settle the matter, but the Strib then took the extraordinary step of appealing the matter to the federal courts through what's known as a "301 lawsuit." This move merely served to piss off the paper's employees--and ultimately proved futile.
Douglas will henceforth be confined to the weather page.