CEO faces backlash after closing unionized news sites

Billionaire Joe Ricketts shuttered local coverage hubs in apparent retaliation for a successful unionization effort. Former employees and customers have flocked to social media to speak out.

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When you’re closing a business, every word gets amplified and scrutinized.

That’s the lesson Joe Ricketts, the billionaire founder of TD Ameritrade and owner of the Chicago Cubs, is learning after closing the local news web sites and Gothamist. The unexpected closings have put 115 writers and editors out of work.

Fortune wrote:

The move comes one week after editors and reporters at the site’s New York newsroom successfully joined a union, but the closing also affects the company’s entire network of sites in places like Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C., according to the New York Times. It put 115 journalists out of work in total.

Journalists at the websites were publishing work and tweeting stories on Thursday afternoon. Then a post was published on the sites around 5 p.m. from Ricketts announcing his decision to close them down.

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