NY Guild files labor charges against NY Times; launches petition campaign

Times Managers Violate Federal Labor Law, Forbid Tech Staffers From Showing Union Support

NEW YORK – The NewsGuild of New York has filed an Unfair Labor Practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board over union busting actions by Times management aimed at derailing a union organizing campaign among its tech staffers.

A strong majority of the approximately 650 tech workers have signed union cards signaling support for Times Tech Guild, but management has refused to recognize the union and instead has launched a coordinated union busting campaign.

The charge, filed today, deals with multiple instances of violations of the National Labor Relations Act. Employees who work with interns have been told they cannot show public support for the union. Others have been forced to attend meetings in which supporters were interrogated and polled about 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 New York Times editorial board has endorsed union recognition based on “majority sign up,” but when its own tech workers requested the process in April, The Times responded by initiating an anti-union campaign. 

“My colleagues and I are disappointed to see Times management engage in the very same anti-union tactics our own journalism decries,” said Kathy Zhang, Organizing Committee member and Senior Analytics Manager.

“Union busting is unacceptable in our workplace and in all workplaces. 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.”

“The New York Times editorial board has made the case that companies should voluntarily recognize unions, which makes CEO Meredith Kopit Levien’s current decision not to recognize the Times Tech Union both puzzling and disappointing,” said Susan DeCarava, President of the NewsGuild of New York.

“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. Ms. Kopit Levien should do the right thing for Times workers — stop union busting and agree to voluntarily recognize Times Tech workers’ union.”

“We’ve heard from upper management that the decision not to recognize our union was in the spirit of democracy, yet their actions have demonstrated a concerted effort to discourage and hide our widespread support in our workplace,” said Angie Kim, Organizing Committee member and Associate Software Engineer.

“We’re calling on our leaders to recognize our democratic vote, end their pressure tactics, and respect our right to organize freely without coercion from middle managers and executives alike.”

The Organizing Committee of the campaign has launched a petition aimed at Times readers and subscribers, asking New York Times CEO Meredith Kopit Levien to end the union busting campaign and to voluntarily recognize the union.

The NewsGuild of New York represents around 1,300 editorial and business employees at the New York Times. The campaign would expand union representation to approximately 650 tech workers at the New York Times.