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New York Times Accused Of Illegally Stifling Labor Activism

New York Times Accused Of Illegally Stifling Labor Activism

During a day where its journalists were hard at work helping President Biden enshrine the Democratic version of what happened on Jan. 6 into history, the New York Times also announced its latest major media buy: the digital media property the Athletic, which it’s reportedly purchasing for half a billion dollars, according to the Information.

At the same time, the paper has been dealing with some uncomfortable labor troubles at a time when most people looking to work in the journalism industry would be happy to have a steady paycheck, let alone the generous compensation packages offered by America’s “newspaper of record”.

According to Bloomberg, the NYT’s management “has been interfering with, restraining and coercing employees in the exercise of the rights guaranteed” under federal workplace law – or so said an acting regional director of the National Labor Relations Board in a memo dated Dec. 29.

What did the paper do exactly to infringe on its workers’ rights? Apparently, management crossed a line when it told employees designated as “intern managers” that they were not allowed to show any support for the union.

Here’s what actually happened: The union alleges NYT management ordered a group of tech employees to stop using pro-union avatars and backgrounds on their Slack and Google Meet profiles used for work. Since some of them technically supervised interns, management labeled the whole group “intern managers” – an affront that the NLRB and the organizers working with the Times newsrooms’ rank and file weren’t ready to stomach.

“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,” said Times spokesperson Danielle Rhoades Ha in an emailed statement.

Last year, the company said it had told employees who “hire, supervise and assess” interns “that while in this supervisory position they would need to act in a manner that is consistent with a management role.”

The complaint is set to be considered at a trial in March. It stems from claims brought last June by the Communications Workers of America’s NewsGuild, which represents editorial and business employees at the NYT.

Last year it announced a campaign to unionize tech workers like software engineers and product managers, giving them common cause with the nation’s beleaguered newspapermen and women.

Tyler Durden
Thu, 01/06/2022 – 16:41

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