Company owes laid-off workers $600,000

The Times Union owes 11 workers the company illegally laid off in 2009 about $600,000 in back wages, the National Labor Relations Board has determined.

That figure is actually low, the NLRB said, because it does not include pension accruals that the board says are owed to the 11. Interest on the debt continues to compound daily so that the actual number is already over $600,000.

One worker who has not yet found a job is owed more than $105,000. Another is owed more than $98,000. A third is owed more than $80,000.

“From the moment the Times Union began illegally laying off these workers, we put the company on notice that their actions were illegal and we would have no choice but to stand up for our members,” Guild President Tim O’Brien said. “The company made a choice to continue to break the law. It made a choice to waste tens of thousands of dollars on a losing legal appeal, only to see the decision upheld by the board in Washington, D.C. And now the time has come where the company is about to pay the price for actions it chose to take. ”

The NRLB is launching its enforcement process to require the Times Union to pay the debt that is owed. Part of the order also calls for those workers to be restored to the payroll and for the Times Union to do what we asked it to do in the first place: bargain in good faith over layoffs.

The court process can take six months to a year, but it is the final step in this long, drawn-out case.

Some of the laid-off workers have never found work. Others have worked more than one job to make ends meet. Some have suffered hits to what their pensions would have been.

The NLRB issued its findings on how much money is owed in late August. The union made a decision not to publicize those findings immediately as our intent has always been to try to negotiate a settlement not only of the legal case but of the contract.

The parties met Wednesday for off-the-record discussions, but they did not bear fruit. The Guild continues to insist that any settlement must be fair to the 11 illegally laid off workers and give our members the contract that is long overdue.

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