The New York Times is being accused of unfair labor practices by forbidding workers from showing support for unionizing. According to The Hill, The NewsGuild of New York announced in a press release that it had filed an Unfair Labor Practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), alleging that newspaper’s management had participated in “union busting actions,” including a “coordinated” campaign against roughly 650 tech workers who have formed a union.
In April, the tech workers had requested unionization recognition which the Times said it would not voluntarily recognize and told members to put it through a vote with the labor relations board.
The “NewsGuild of New York, which represents an additional 1,300 editorial and business employees at the Times, said that the Times has promoted a union busting campaign, citing that employees ‘who work with interns have been told they cannot show public support for the union.’”
However, the Times Editorial Board has publicly supported union recognition through card check, but it has not offered the same type of support to its own tech workers. As a result, the union’s organizing committee launched an online petition encouraging Times readers and subscribers to signal their support for Times leadership to “stop breaking federal labor law, stop union-busting, and recognize the Times Tech Guild union.”
While this is shocking news coming from a leading news outlet that stands against unfair labor practices, there is a lot that other companies can learn from the Times’ misgivings.
What is Union Busting?
Union busting includes activities undertaken to disrupt or prevent the formation of trade unions or hinder their attempts to grow membership in a workplace. Union busting tactics can refer to both legal and illegal activities and can range anywhere from subtle to violent. Common tactics a workplace will utilize in union busting include:
- Letters signed by the company president, company administrators, and well-liked managers and supervisors.
- Letters of support that say how much the management/administration really appreciates the work employees have done for the company.
- Letters showing an unfavorable side of unions.
- Supervisor pressure in the form of delivering letters, informal chats, and even speeches prepared by the “Union busters.”
- Increase unexpected incentives by management such as larger than expected wage increases and/or improved benefits.
- Common grievances and issues in the workplace will suddenly be handled.
- Administrators and supervisors will be everywhere and have meetings to see what’s on employees’ minds, including one-on-ones.
- Union busters may try to create conflict by pegging employees against one another.
- Administrators, personnel directors, or some other higher-level management will be forced to resign or be fired. Then, union busters will ask you to reconsider unionizing until the new members get settled into the job.
Remember, unless otherwise stated, you have a right to form and join unions and exercise your employee rights. If your rights have been violated, contact the New York employment lawyers of Brown Kwon & Lam for a free consultation.