A federal labor body has ruled that The New York Times’ tech staffers can form a union and that an election will be held shortly.
Ever since The Times Tech Guild was formed in April by a mix of software engineers, product managers and analysts, executives at the media company have declined to formally recognize it, leaving the decision down to the National Labor Relations Board, which deals with labor disputes.
Now the NLRB has made that decision, ruling that all full-time and regular part-time engineers, analysts, designers, program/project managers and product managers who perform work for the Times’ websites and mobile applications can be part of a union.
In hearings, the Times’ management argued that it should not be one single bargaining unit, according to NLRB documents, but the federal body ruled that it is indeed one bargaining unit. Ballots for the election will be sent out later this month and counted on March 7.
The New York Times Tech Guild tweeted: “The NLRB agrees that we are one union and we will vote together. We work together to make @nytimes tech the best, and we can’t wait to bargain so our workplace meets the same high standards. Together we’re strong and can’t wait to vote yes. Time to win our union.”
A spokeswoman for The New York Times said: “While we disagree with the NLRB’s scoping of the technology unit, we will focus on the election and ensuring our colleagues who will be eligible for the potential unit have all the information they need to make an informed choice on whether a union and collective bargaining is right for them. We continue to believe that the company and our digital product development and tech colleagues will accomplish our shared goals faster and more effectively by working together directly, without a union.”
In June, the NewsGuild of New York, which represents The Times Tech Guild, filed an unfair labor practice against the Times with the NLRB, claiming that some staffers had been told they could not participate in the union due to the fact that they manage interns. Last month, the federal body alleged that the company had been “interfering with, restraining and coercing employees.”
In November, members of three bargaining units at the Times — the Times Guild, Times Tech Guild and Wirecutter Union — held a rally outside the Grey Lady’s headquarters in Manhattan’s Midtown to protest management’s alleged anti-union tactics. Leading the protest was Susan DeCarava, president of the NewsGuild of New York, which represents all three units, calling out the company with claims of union busting, including allegations of negotiating in bad faith and multiple unfair labor practices.
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