Union accuses New York Times of unfair labor practices

The New York division of the largest union for news professionals is accusing The New York Times of unfair labor practices by forbidding workers from showing support for unionizing. 

The NewsGuild of New York announced in a press release Tuesday that it had filed an an Unfair Labor Practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board, alleging that the Times’s management has participated in “union busting actions,” including a “coordinated” campaign against roughly 650 tech workers who have formed their own union. 

The tech workers announced in April that they had requested union recognition from the Times, after which the Times said it would not voluntarily recognize the group, telling members to put it through a formal vote to the labor relations board. 

Now, the NewsGuild of New York, which represents an additional 1,300 editorial and business employees at the Times, said that the Times has promoted a union busting campaign, citing that employees “who work with interns have been told they cannot show public support for the union.” 

The union also alleges that others “have been made to attend meetings in which supporters were interrogated and polled for their union support.” 

“This is the latest escalation in The Times’ union busting strategy, building on multiple mandatory captive audience meetings arguing against unionizing and pressing staff not to support the union,” the NewsGuild said Tuesday. 

The union argues that while the Times Editorial Board has indicated support publicly for union recognition through card check, it has not offered the same type of support to its own tech workers. 

Kathy Zhang, a Times senior analytics manager and member of the tech union’s organizing committee, said in a statement, “My colleagues and I are disappointed to see Times management engage in the very same anti-union tactics our own journalism decries.” 

“Union busting is unacceptable in our workplace and in all workplaces,” she added. “Tech workers know our rights. We will enforce them and we won’t be intimidated. We call on our supporters to help us hold the Times accountable to their own stated values.”

NewsGuild of New York President Susan DeCarava called Times CEO Meredith Kopit Levien’s decision not to recognize the tech union “both puzzling and disappointing.” 

“The Times’ has an opportunity here to lead the way, instead of engaging in a union busting campaign that is contrary to The New York Times own stated values,” she said. “Ms. Kopit Levien should do the right thing for Times workers—stop union busting and agree to voluntarily recognize Times Tech workers’ union.”

The union’s organizing committee on Tuesday also launched an online petition encouraging Times readers and subscribers to signal their support for Times leadership to “stop breaking federal labor law, stop union-busting, and recognize the Times Tech Guild union.” 

In response to the NewsGuild’s allegations, Times spokesperson Danielle Rhoades Ha told The Hill that the newspaper “supports an election where everyone has the opportunity to vote on the proposed union for our technology and product development teams.”
“Once we announced that we support an election, we began briefing supervisors to ensure they understand the election process and the legal parameters for supervisor-employee conversations about the union,” she added. “We will continue to communicate with employees in a variety of formats to make sure they have all the information they need to decide if joining a union is right for them.”
The spokesperson went on to say, “Several of our technology and product development employees hire, supervise and assess interns as part of their responsibilities,” and that the company “communicated to these individuals that while in this supervisory position they would need to act in a manner that is consistent with a management role.”
Tags National Labor Relations Board New York NewsGuild The New York Times Union busting Union organizing

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