Rick Wartzman

Rick Wartzman, director of the Drucker Institute at Claremont Graduate University and an Irvine senior fellow at the New America Foundation, is a former editor and columnist for the Los Angeles Times.

Recent Articles

The Robot Invasion

Jason Schneider
I f you want a sense of where the nation’s job market is headed, a good place to stand is inside the half-mile-long Skechers warehouse in Moreno Valley, California, where box after box of shoes is stacked upon row after row of shelving, which soars some 40 feet in the air. Physically, the place is a wonder—quiet, sleek, and environmentally friendly (at 1.8 million square feet, it’s the largest officially certified “LEED Gold” building in the country). But what’s most remarkable about the $250 million structure, which opened in 2011, is how few people work there. The day I visited, a clump of men and women toiled away near a series of conveyor belts, filling small specialty orders. But machines—not human beings—were handling the bulk of the chores. “As you can see, there are no more people doing the retrieving,” Iddo Benzeevi, the chief executive of Highland Fairview, the firm that developed the site, told me. “It’s the computer doing it all by itself.” A driverless crane swung into...

Organizing the L.A. Times Pressroom

How the press workers at the Los Angeles Times bucked the paper's legacy and organized at the notoriously anti-union employer.

It's tough to imagine what Gen. Harrison Gray Otis -- the bellicose press baron with the steely gaze and a speaking voice once likened to "that of a game warden roaring at seal poachers" -- would make of his family's recent decision to sever the last of its ties with the Los Angeles Times . The 19th-century publisher, were he looking down upon this vale, couldn't be too happy that his descendants have walked away from the paper he built. At the same time, Otis was a savvy enough businessman that he might at least take some pleasure from the terms of their exit: When all is said and done, his scions will have pocketed about $3.5 billion from their sale of parent Times Mirror Company to Tribune Company. And yet there's another development at the Times that would undoubtedly elicit no such mixed emotions from the general. On this, he'd be sour through and through: The National Labor Relations Board last month, in turning back an appeal from the company, certified the International...