Randi Bjornstad, the Register-Guard features writer who’s been covering the arts for the newspaper since I left in 2013, was fired Wednesday from her job.
The reasons given were “dishonesty, insubordination and destroying company property,” she told me over a cup of coffee this morning. Those reasons, of course, closely reflect the grounds given for the firing in 2014 of entertainment writer Serena Markstrom, whose pregnancy discrimination lawsuit against the paper was thrown out by a judge’s ruling August 31.
Bjornstad supported Markstrom’s claim against the newspaper and testified extensively at last month’s trial.
She said she plans to challenge her firing through the Newspaper Guild, the union representing most newsroom employees. She is the co-president of the Guild local, and says she was clearly fired for engaging in protected union activity. Bjornstad , a 28-year veteran of the newsroom, was suspended from her job right after the judge’s ruling in favor of the newspaper.
Meanwhile, two other RG employees who were suspended at the same time in connection with the case have been brought back to work with no discipline, Bjornstad said.
I’ve been holding back on writing a longer piece about Serena’s case against the RG because I do not, for the life of me, understand the judge’s ruling. I don’t simply mean that I don’t agree with it, which I don’t, but that I don’t have a clue what she actually ruled on.
As of a couple days ago, court papers that might explain the judge’s ruling were still not in the public file. When I get my hands on them, I’ll write more.