Hearing in dues case set for April 6

This week, a judge rejected the Times Union’s attempts to further delay an arbitration in the cutting off of the union’s dues, clearing the way for the case to be heard on April 6.

In June, U.S. District Court Judge Gary Sharpe ruled the union had a right to have the case heard by an arbitrator. The Times Union has fought our efforts to allow our case to be heard, but the newpaper continues to lose that battle. After the judge’s ruling, the Times Union filed an appeal and a request for a stay to block the case from going before an arbitrator. This week, the judge rejected the request for further delay.

The union and company have agreed on the name of the arbitrator who will hear the case, and a date has now been scheduled for Wednesday, April 6. Arbitrator James Collins will decide whether the newspaper improperly cut off dues collection. If the union wins, the company would not only have to resume collecting dues out of paychecks. It could be ordered to reimburse the union for any dues not paid.

The Guild also won a legal victory in the illegal layoffs of employees last year. The company, in another delaying tactic, has appealed the case to the full National Labor Relations Board in Washington, D.C. The administrative law judge in the case found the Times Union guilty of violating labor law and ordered the newspaper to return the 12 workers to the payroll, provide them with back pay and resume negotiations, this time in good faith.

“The Guild remains open to ongoing discussion with the company to try to settle these matters,” President Tim O’Brien said. “We’ve shown a great willingness to be flexible on the issues of layoffs and outsourcing, but flexibility must be a two-way street. In this economy, members are understandably reluctant to hand the company a blank check to outsource their jobs or to lay off the most senior people without cause. We have been and remain willing to craft language that enables the company to keep top performers, but the law does not allow the company to impose its draconian demands that we surrender our right to negotiate.”

O’Brien said the union is especially grateful to the Guild International and its lawyers, Barbara Camens and Quinn Philbin, for their excellent work on our behalf.

“The legal process is frustratingly slow, but we are lucky to have such excellent attorneys working for us,” he said. “They continue to compile an impressive collection of legal victories on our behalf. We are in good hands.”

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