Via Crain's Chicago Business, Joe Ricketts is shutting down DNAInfo and Gothamist because the underpaid, overworked journalists there had the temerity to ask for better working conditions:
A week ago, reporters and editors in the combined newsroom of DNAinfo and Gothamist, two of New York City’s leading digital purveyors of local news, celebrated victory in their vote to join a union.
On Thursday, they lost their jobs, as Joe Ricketts, the billionaire founder of TD Ameritrade who owned the sites, shut them down.
At 5 p.m., a post went up on the sites from Mr. Ricketts announcing the decision. He praised them for reporting “tens of thousands of stories that have informed, impacted and inspired millions of people.” But he added, “DNAinfo is, at the end of the day, a business, and businesses need to be economically successful if they are to endure.”
The decision puts 115 journalists out of work, both at the New York operations that unionized, and at those in Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington that did not. They are getting three months of paid “administrative leave” at their full salaries, plus four weeks of severance, DNAinfo said.
The decision means that local Chicago news will now be covered only by mega-corporation Tribune Media, mega-corporation Hollinger (who owns the Sun-Times), and...nope, that's it. And with ultra-right-wing Sinclair Media trying to buy Tribune, that does not bode well for local news here.
Then there's this:
In September, Mr. Ricketts, a conservative who supported President Trump in last year’s election, raised the ante with a post on his blog titled “Why I’m Against Unions At Businesses I Create,” in which he argued that “unions promote a corrosive us-against-them dynamic that destroys the esprit de corps businesses need to succeed.”
Maybe because American owners think unions are against them. Because Volkswagen and other European manufacturers don't seem to have that problem, even going so far as to encourage their American workforce to unionize.
Ricketts hates unions because he wants to squeeze every ounce of profit out of his workforce. And here, he'd rather kill the business itself than submit to something so fundamentally against his ideology.
Oh, the Ricketts family also owns the Cubs, and is turning Wrigleyville into Disneyland.