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New York Times interfered with union activism, U.S. labor agency alleges

Randy Mancini 19 Jan 5
FILE PHOTO: The New York Times building is seen in Manhattan, New York
FILE PHOTO: The New York Times building is seen in Manhattan, New York, U.S., August 3, 2020. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton/File Photo

January 6, 2022

By Nate Raymond

(Reuters) – U.S. labor officials have filed a complaint accusing The New York Times Co of unlawfully interfering with the organizing efforts of tech employees by barring a group of workers from showing union support.

In a complaint dated Dec. 29, an acting regional director of the National Labor Relations Board alleged that the newspaper publisher wrongly interfered with, restrained and coerced employees exercising their rights under federal labor law.

“We strongly disagree with the union’s allegations about the supervisory status of certain technology employees and welcome the opportunity to explain our position to the board,” Danielle Rhoades Ha, a Times spokesperson, said in a statement.

The complaint came in response to an unfair labor practice claim filed in June by the Communications Workers of America’s NewsGuild, which represents many Times employees and last year launched a campaign to unionize its tech staffers.

Those workers in April announced they had formed a union representing about 650 employees, including software engineers and product managers.

The company declined to voluntarily recognize the Times Tech Guild, forcing the issue to proceed to a formal election through the NLRB.

In the complaint, the NLRB alleged that management in May, during a virtual hearing held by Zoom, told employees they were barred from showing union support while acting as “intern managers” and has continued to maintain that rule.

The Times Tech Guild in a series of Twitter posts on Wednesday said the NLRB had offered the company the chance to settle the charge but it declined. The NLRB will now prosecute the case before an administrate judge during a hearing in March.

“It’s frustrating to see this response, yet another example of a pattern of delays we’ve experienced at every step of our campaign,” the Times Tech Guild said.

(Reporting by Nate Raymond in Boston; Editing by Leslie Adler)