For immediate release: February 8, 2023
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Workers call out NBC Universal for repeatedly breaking the law, most recently illegally laying off union members
Along with illegal actions, workers are fighting back against bad-faith bargaining
NATIONAL — This morning, NBC Digital News Guild, a union representing just under 300 workers across NBC News, MSNBC, and TODAY Digital, sent a letter to management announcing that a supermajority of workers in the unit are committed to walking out on Thursday, February 9, unless the company walks back their unlawful actions.
On January 12, NBC illegally laid off seven bargaining unit members, and informed several others that, while still employed, they were no longer protected by the union. The union filed an Unfair Labor Practice charge against the company at the National Labor Relations Board on January 13.
Under well-settled NLRB precedent, employers cannot conduct layoffs without bargaining with the union during negotiations for a first contract. NBC knows this precedent well, previously having been found by the NLRB to have violated federal law by cutting union salaries in 2020 without bargaining. The NLRB was affirmed by the DC Circuit, resulting in hundreds of thousands of dollars of back pay delivered to union members this year.
The Guild and company have been bargaining since 2020, as NBC has refused to agree to industry-standard protections on job security and union work, and has refused to furnish information about its proposals in defiance of its legal obligations.
Workers are demanding NBC reinstate their laid-off colleagues and bargain in good faith over layoff provisions and due process for terminations. Additionally, they’re demanding that NBC return to the bargaining table with a serious commitment to making movement towards a fair contract.
“Any newsroom worth its salt will do what’s necessary to hold power to account,” said Tate James, Video Editor, NBC News. “As union workers and journalists, we refuse to accept NBC’s unlawful terminations, illegal salary cuts, and contempt for our right to bargain. We will not be bullied.”
Workers unionized at NBC News Digital with the NewsGuild of New York in 2019 motivated by their mission “to uphold the legacy of NBC News while empowering and protecting those who will build its future.” They’ve been bargaining with the company since and have yet to reach tentative agreements on important demands around wages and job protections.
“The union journalists at NBC News, MSNBC and TODAY hold ourselves to the highest standards of the profession, but NBC management unilaterally refuses to do the same,” said Carlin McCarthy, Segment Producer, NBC News Now. “Instead of respecting our rights as a union and the extraordinary, groundbreaking work we do, they’ve repeatedly broken the law and denied us all the employment protections our newsroom deserves. If they want to put out press releases saying we are the best teams in digital journalism, they need to treat us like it.”
“I’ve loved and been committed to my job at TODAY All Day for the last 4.5 years and we had the ‘best year on record’ in 2022 even though we were overworked and understaffed. Despite this, I was laid off without a clear reason,” said Carly Marsh, Video Producer, TODAY All Day. “The hardworking journalists at NBC deserve better than this. We unionized three years ago, and the company needs to respect our union protections and our members. I’m so proud to be walking out with my coworkers as we fight for NBC to follow the law and be better.”
NBC Digital News Guild will hold a rally outside of 30 Rockefeller (N side of 49th St. b/w 5th and 6th Ave) on Thursday at 11 AM ET where they’ll be joined by workers across the company and other union supporters and community allies.
“Journalists at NBC News deserve employment protections worthy of the incredible work they do, which has made NBC one of the most important media companies in the world. They should be able to do this work without fear of sudden layoffs without just cause,” said Susan DeCarava, President, NewsGuild of New York. “The company doesn’t want to accept that our members have organized and collectively won a seat at the table, fighting for a different NBC. We will not accept these illegal actions, and will continue to fight for the strong contract they deserve.
ABOUT THE NEWSGUILD OF NEW YORK
The NewsGuild of New York, Local 31003 of the Communications Workers of America, is a labor union representing nearly 6,000 media professionals and other employees at New York area news organizations, including The New York Times, The New Yorker, Thomson Reuters, The Nation, BuzzFeed News, TIME, PEOPLE, Wirecutter, and The Daily Beast. The NewsGuild of New York advocates for journalists to have a voice in the newsroom, for press freedom, for inclusive and diverse workplaces, and for just cause, no exceptions, for all media professionals.