Mountain Xpress reporter: I’ve been terminated following my union drive efforts


Here’s the Facebook post from Mountain Xpress reporter David Forbes:

I have been fired from Mountain Xpress. On April 17, I received a letter in my mailbox notifying me that I was terminated from my job as senior news reporter.

I had been suspended since April 4, following efforts to push for a union at Xpress and bring to light major issues with ethics and working conditions. This includes the Communications Workers of America filing a National Labor Relations Board charge on April 2 concerning ongoing retaliation.

Thanks to everyone who has supported the union drive. It is far from over.

On a personal note, I would like to thank the many people in Asheville who have supported my work, helping to inform the public for nearly seven years as a reporter at Xpress.

I have no regrets, and hope to continue serving and informing the community in whatever way I can.

This is, at its heart, an amazing city. We all deserve better.

Forbes’ termination follows his effort  to unionize Xpress employees, and follows a complaint issued against Xpress by the National Labor Relations Board. Forbes took to Twitter to announce that the NLRB had registered a complaint in the firing of former photographer Max Cooper, detailed here: Mountain Xpress photog to editor: Xpress is bleeding. Forbes has been an Xpress reporter for nearly seven years.

Forbes also recently created his own blog to publish a Mountain Xpress story he said had been unduly delayed by his publisher and editor.


lance April 25, 2014 - 11:34 am

Mr. Forbes making his signature issue that the Mountain Xpress is non-union strikes me as extremely SELFISH in light of the fact that we have servers making $2/hr, Duke is leeching thallium into the French Broad, students at WWC can’t vote, affordable housing is a big loophole, homeless vets (and homeless non-vets) are marginalized, NOAA is not allowed (by law) to discuss climate change, Dr. Greg Brannon thinks some god controls the weather, in Tennessee it is illegal to invest in mass transit, in OK you pay a fine to install solar panels, America leads the world in incarceration, racism abounds, gun violence on the rise, police brutality, corporations control the media, etc etc et-fricking-cetera

Do something positive with your life, David, stop whining about life being unfair and begging for financial assistance.

…OK Asheville, you can all hate me now. idc

orton April 27, 2014 - 2:41 pm

So just because kids in Africa are starving no one in relatively better life circumstances shouldn’t try to better their situations? Interesting logic…

Media Watcher April 27, 2014 - 3:18 pm

Your views of Mr. Forbes’ actions may have merit, but some of your assertions are questionable and undercut your point:

” . . . .NOAA is not allowed (by law) to discuss climate change, . .

1. “How are climate and weather changing?”
Climate change is apparent now across our nation; and natural climate patterns, like El Niño, can have a major impact on weather. NOAA works with partners across sectors to provide useful and timely climate information. Without NOAA’s long-term climate monitoring, research, and modeling capabilities we couldn’t quantify where and how climate conditions have changed, nor could we predict where and how they’re likely to change. We provide critical early warning systems and forecasts from days to decades and on local to global scales.

” . . .in Tennessee it is illegal to invest in mass transit, . . .”

Tennessee lawmakers have finalized a deal approving a bus rapid transit project, which the Senate originally attempted to block.2

The deal will allow Nashville’s AMP bus rapid transit project to proceed, but with greater oversight from the state’s General Assembly, according to The Tennessean. The deal, brokered Thursday by a conference committee of House and Senate lawmakers, allows BRT projects to use separate lanes, but such projects will require Assembly approval even if they don’t use state funding.

The Amp, proposed by Nashville Mayor Karl Dean, is a $174 million BRT system that would cover a 7.1-mile route and serve rapidly growing neighborhoods across the city. There’s a more detailed summary of the project over at The Tennessean. Thursday’s deal was needed because the Senate overwhelmingly voted in favor of a bill effectively banning construction of bus rapid transit in two counties, one of which includes Nashville1, while the House approved a measure that merely required the state’s transportation commissioner to approve such projects.2

lance April 29, 2014 - 2:47 pm

Orton- rallying the community against a local news outlet while asking for handouts is “trying to better their situation”? I see it as selfish, vindictive and immature

Media Watcher – thanks for the update on AFP’s attempt to block mass transit in Nashville. It’s exactly why we need more reporters and less panhandlers in the world. how much do I owe you for the correx?

Media Watcher – I stand by my NOAA claim even if it was a little clumsy:
“The House will vote on a legislation to require NOAA to focus its efforts on storm predictions instead of researching climate change.”
Read more:

— see already we are talking about real issues, not how much David Forbes hates Jeff Fobes. interesting logic…

orton April 29, 2014 - 9:54 pm

Where was he asking for handouts? You’re equating unionizing to handouts? Tim Peck, is that you?

Besides, the fact that you’re bitching about someone trying to improve their working conditions in light of how many people left or got fired from that place stands as a moronic point of view when you bring up the woes of the world as comparison. Yes, that is and was still very interesting logic, hoss.

lance April 30, 2014 - 10:56 am

David Forbes has been asking for handouts (sorry, donations) on twitter, Facebook and type pad.
FYI-People get fired all the time for publicly defaming their employers. Try it sometime and see!
FYI#2 I am not Tim Peck, my name is Lance Wille. What’s your real name, Orton? Perhaps it’s David Forbes?
source (gotta scroll down for relevance):

-I will let you have the last word on the subject, I am done bitching, going out in the real world to try and save our planet. over and out.

theOtherBarry April 30, 2014 - 12:38 pm

Interesting, Lance. You attacked me with similar vitriol when we were struggling with MAIN’s Ex. Dir. Wally Bowen over the future of WPVM.

Reflexive defense of authority figures much?

Lance April 30, 2014 - 7:48 pm

Yes, also a similar rally for primarily personal reasons. WPVM lost that fight, I guess you are happy in bringing down a community resource. Now you get to post on Ashevegas! Gawd, y’all so cliquish! Really a discussion for another forum, like

Lance April 30, 2014 - 7:49 pm

By the way, my company just folded, can ya spare a dime?

theOtherBarry May 1, 2014 - 1:18 pm

“WPVM lost that fight”

If you mean that the core group of volunteers who had just managed the most successful fund drive in ‘PVM history, were subsequently banned from the station by Wally Bowen, leading to a mass exodus of volunteers, listeners and donors… yes, in that sense ‘WPVM lost’. But Wally won.

We didn’t ‘bring down’ WPVM. That’s a particularly hurtful way of describing it, by someone who wasn’t involved & knows absolutely nothing about what really transpired.

Hey, look! ABCCM employees are alleging unfair practices by the leadership! Go get ’em, Lance!

lance May 1, 2014 - 5:27 pm


Lance May 10, 2014 - 12:14 am

I suggest Barry Summers read this weeks Xpress opinion. Reflexive defense of hearsay much Other Barry? I hope you donated to afm fundraiser.

Dave April 23, 2014 - 7:49 am

I suspect he got precisely the same treatment he would have received had he attempted to “unionize” employees at say … the Asheville Scene.

Mr. Yuck April 22, 2014 - 8:02 pm

They lost the competent core staff 2-5 years ago. Something changed. Thanks for trying David.

NFB April 22, 2014 - 3:36 pm

Perhaps he can use his experience to start another indie paper. A paper like the one that MX used to be with serious investigative reporting, coverage of City Council and County Commission rather then the snoozefest MX has become with its 400 weekly food articles and puffy cover stories.

Harry April 22, 2014 - 3:14 pm

He had to know this was going to happen. It would have happened at 99.99999% of other non union shops as well had he tried to bring in a union.

indie April 22, 2014 - 12:40 pm

Forbes was never a reporter, but an advocate masquerading as a reporter. Good riddance.

luther blissett April 23, 2014 - 1:08 pm

God forbid that investigative journalists have motivations beyond lazily regurgitating press releases.

Harry April 23, 2014 - 7:07 pm

Investigative journalists investigate objectively to find the facts and get to the TRUTH. They (the good ones anyway), don’t report in order to substantiate their biased positions.

Tim Peck April 22, 2014 - 11:49 am

Now Forbes will have more time to work on his yellow journalism technique.

theOtherBarry April 22, 2014 - 1:06 pm

yellow journalism = failing to be a Mouthpiece for the Right.

Now, the Raleigh Digest – that’s some good “journalism”.

Melissa April 23, 2014 - 3:43 pm


luther blissett April 22, 2014 - 1:17 pm

Mouthpiece has no sense of irony.

theOtherBarry April 22, 2014 - 1:25 pm

Or class. Kicking a man when he’s down is bad form whatever your politics.

Radio Follower April 23, 2014 - 10:31 am

Tim..Any real journalist..of which you’re not..will tell you Forbes was a damn good reporterwriter. For you to say he practiced “yellow journalism” shows either your lack of knowledge of the field OR your just another political hack who gets on these websites to push your agenda.

Smytty April 23, 2014 - 1:21 pm

yellow journalism
Journalism that exploits, distorts, or exaggerates the news to create sensations and attract readers.

To be fair, it does seem Tim would be an expert in this realm.

D.Dial April 21, 2014 - 10:08 pm

David did some great reporting through the years.

Heather Rayburn April 21, 2014 - 7:34 pm

I really hate to hear this. David Forbes did a great job at the Xpress. The Xpress has really lost it’s way over the past couple of years.

theOtherBarry April 21, 2014 - 4:56 pm

Good on ya David, for speaking out. Best wishes for whatever is next for you.

As for the XPress, how many self-inflicted body blows can you people take over there?

orton April 21, 2014 - 4:42 pm

Sucks to see him go, but kind of amazed it took them so long to show him the door. I hope he is successful in his efforts going forward.

Media Watcher April 22, 2014 - 8:57 am

Agree that it was inevitable he would be let go. What publisher could tolerate a writer/editor who openly trashed his employer/publication? What employee would do so without expecting to be fired?

Xpatriot April 21, 2014 - 4:39 pm

OK—seems like his co-workers would have his back here. Ya know, since he’s been fighting for their rights over the past few months. Hopefully, they will find a way to come together in support of him and to show JF that enough is enough. He can’t fire everyone, can he? It would be pretty tough to print a paper without employees…

Big Al April 22, 2014 - 3:13 pm

“…seems like his co-workers would have his back here.”

Jobs are still hard to find. Try feeding your family while giving your boss the middle finger.

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