New York Times Parent Company Interfered With Union Efforts, Labor Board Says

The parent company of The New York Times The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), which recently alleged that Apple has illegally restricted its tech workers from promoting unionization efforts.

In a complaint to an administrative judge the NLRB said that The New York Times Company “has been interfering with, restraining and coercing employees in the exercise of the rights guaranteed” under federal labor laws.

The complaint, which was filed by the Communications Workers of America’s NewsGuild (TNG-CWA) last June, alleges that the company violated federal labor laws and protections by ordering its employees not to share images demonstrating support of unionizing tech workers. Officials from the NLRB agreed with this assertion in December. They have forwarded the complaint on to the administrative court, which will hear it in March.

TNG-CWA filed a variety of complaints against the union, including the claim that the company refused to allow tech workers to use pro-union images as their avatars in chat groupsPro-union imagery was not allowed to be shared within other online services. The New York Times Co. falsely claimed that these workers were technically supervisors because they had oversaw interns in an attempt to justify its actions.

The company still maintains that it hasn’t done anything wrong.

“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,” company spokesperson Danielle Rhoades Ha said in a statement.

If the administrative court in March agrees with NLRB, the effect of their decision will be minimal. The judges can only order the company’s policies to be changed and allow such images to circulate among employees, regardless if tech workers are overseeing interns. The judges can take very few punitive actions against the company, if any, unless the company ignores the judges’ orders later on.

Still, it’s revealing that The New York Times Co. is refusing to abide by labor laws and attempting to quell union promotion among its tech workers.

As the New York Times Tech Guild noted on Twitter, the NLRB offered the company a settlement option that would allow all parties involved to avoid a trial later this year; this option would simply require the company to post “a notice with the promise not to break the law again.”

“Management has refused this option, opting to spend more money on legal fees to fight the decision rather than posting this straightforward notice,” the New York Times Tech Guild said in its post.