Sen. Elizabeth Warren might have just hampered the likelihood of Hearst management approving her as one of their magazine cover stars in the run-up to the 2020 election, but she certainly won the hearts and minds of hundreds of its staffers.
The Massachusetts senator just entered another contentious race, intervening in the messy battle between Hearst Magazines execs and a huge chunk of their employees over the latter’s efforts to form a union.
“It should be quick and easy to join a union, and I stand with the @HearstUnion as they fight for a fair vote to form one,” she tweeted Wednesday night.
Her tweet, which was shared hundreds of times and received more than 2,000 likes, was referring to the fact that Hearst has not voluntarily recognized the union and is in fact taking a number of steps to thwart unionization.
This has included setting up an antiunion web site, as well as widespread reports that it may have created union-busting social media accounts, which have since been deleted. There have also been multiple claims of management urging staffers to withdraw their union cards.
Hearst execs’ latest move has been trying to persuade the National Labor Relations Board, a federal body that decides when an election happens since execs did not voluntarily recognize the union, that a number of staffers should not be allowed to vote since they are supervisors. Such a tactic is likely to delay the date of the election, which the union had expected to take place later this month.
This particular debate is playing out at the same time that the Writers Guild Association, East, the body through which Hearst staffers are attempting to unionize, filed a separate unfair-labor-practice charge against Hearst executives with the NLRB.
As first reported by New York Magazine, the union accused executives of “unlawfully” engaging in surveillance of employees’ union activities and solicited, encouraged and provided assistance to employees to withdraw union authorization cards, as well as other methods. The NLRB is investigating those claims.
But as the NLRB looks into that and decides how many staffers can take part in an election, Warren’s Twitter intervention may not have much impact.
That’s because the board just lost its only Democrat member and is now comprised of three Republican Trump-appointees that are viewed as often favoring management. Chairman John Ring is a former management lawyer.
Warren is not the only presidential candidate to support the Hearst Magazines Media Union. In November, Sen. Bernie Sanders tweeted: “Congratulations to the workers at Hearst for their decision to unionize. I applaud their courage and hope others in the industry follow their example. We must keep unions like @WGAEast strong as corporate greed in media continues to threaten jobs.”
In response to Warren’s tweet, a spokeswoman for Hearst Magazines said: “We agree with the importance of a fair vote, which includes knowing who is eligible to vote before an election begins.”
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