The Times Union broke the law when it walked workers out of the newspaper’s offices when it was supposed to be negotiating criteria for layoffs, the National Labor Relations Board has charged.

The newspaper is now charged with violating labor law and will face a trial scheduled for Monday, May 17, at the Leo O’Brien Federal Building in Albany.

“From the moment it happened, we said the Times Union’s actions were a blatant violation of the law,” said Guild President Tim O’Brien. “Now the National Labor Relations Board has investigated and come to the same conclusion. This is no longer an argument between the newspaper management and the union. This is the equivalent of an indictment of the newspaper’s management.”

A 22-year employee of the newspaper, O’Brien said he had never been more stunned by the actions of the company. Last July, TU managers walked employees to the personnel office, where a security guard was stationed, and told them their careers were over.

Editor Rex Smith then announced to the newsroom that the workers were laid off, and the newspaper’s story the next day called the discharges layoffs. The Company then claimed it was continuing to bargain the layoffs in good faith, but it made not one change before announcing those talks at an impasse.

The NLRB investigation took time but came to the same conclusion the union did: The Times Union broke the law.

“A newspaper plays a very important role in the community. It holds people in power accountable for their actions,” O’Brien said. “Now the Times Union itself must be held accountable for its actions.”

If the administrative law judge finds the Times Union guilty as charged, the newspaper will be ordered to restore a dozen laid-off workers back to the payroll and to resume good-faith negotiations over the criteria.

“The Times Union must bargain with us and not simply present us with a fait accompli,” O’Brien said. “That’s not legal. We take no pride in seeing the Times Union charged, but a newspaper of all businesses should not believe it is above the law.”

The Guild’s Executive Board will meet at 5:30 p.m. today at its offices in the Albany Labor Temple and will set a date for a membership meeting to discuss the legal action and to elect two new members to our Executive Board.


  • Lila

    Great news!! Thanks to everyone at the Guild for all of those months of gruelingly hard work. Now onto the next phase. Let’s make sure the Times Union and the Hearst Corp. don’t get away with treating its loyal employees like dirt.

  • JiNX-01

    The “leadership” at the Times Union should be ashamed of how the “layoffs” (?!) were handled last year.

    Can we expect — should the TU be found guilty — that those who were unjustly discharged will be not only reinstated, but compensated for lost income and out of pocket losses (e.g. health insurance costs)?

  • Woody

    Can’t say we didn’t warn them! I’m reminded of a Forrest Gump line – “Stupid is as Stupid does”. This Hearst mismanagement team has had a mindset from day one that they could do whatever they damn well please without any consideration of the contract that THEY’D agreed to.

    I’d loooove to know how much money they wasted on attorney’s fees during this time of everyone “having to do more with less.” How many jobs could have been saved with that money??

    This is a vindication of everything the Guild has been fighting for – not just for the past year or two – since the Guild formed.

    Let’s be clear – without union representation:

    – You could be made a target by a manager with Napolean complex or other psychological issues..
    – Your pay could be lowered.
    – Your vacation could be taken away.
    – Your schedule changed without your agreement or notice.
    – Your health insurance could be doubled, tripled, or eliminated, for that matter.

    Like your weekends? How about unemployment insurance or worker’s compensation? Union Made. Social security, medicare, health insurance? Thank the labor movement. The Guild is the labor movement. It fights for worker’s rights.

    Nobody likes a fight, but when the bully just won’t quit you’ve gotta swing back. Tim, you hung tough and never quit fighting the good fight on behalf of the members. Your tenacity, patience and HARD work in the face of truly unbelievable and unprofessional behavior by company clowns are to be admired. The Times Union Guild members are fortunate, indeed, that you are at the helm.

  • Joyce

    First of all I want to thank the Guild for their hard work and dedication on this issue. This has affected me and my family personally & mentally on SO many levels! It shocks me that The Times Union & Heart Corp. can continue to treat their employees like robots. They honestly cannot consider themselves human in any means. I was a loyal employee for 11 1/2 years and to be blind sided the way I was, was horrific. As Woody said, No one likes a fight… but when you’re stabbed in your back … Ya kinda have to expect a reaction from a very strong group of people! Karma!!!!

  • Audrey

    Congrats to the Newspaper Guild of Albany. While tough times require difficult sacrifices, you clearly held your ground and made Hearst live by the letter of the contract. It gives me joy to know that you never gave up the fight and that you won. Now I hope Hearst will keep the goons at bay and be reasonable, (prayers do come true, in the land of Oz and hopefully in Albany as well!!!!)
    George, get real, get human and treat the employees with dignity and respect. It is on their backs the Times Union has become the paper it is, and the survival of the paper depends on how you treat your employees. Take this lesson and learn from it.

    I am proud to have participated in the Executive Committee of the Guild. The people there work tirelessly for the betterment of work conditions at the Times Union. I would encourage ALL Guild employees to get behind your Guild and get up to date with dues. Show your support, the officers and baragining committee and International never waivered when it came to looking out for your rights.

    God Bless all of my old collegues at the paper, I miss you.

  • Mike

    This is wonderful news. The company has asked for this ever since it started engaging in bad-faith bargaining. Thanks so much to the union leadership locally and at the international for pursuing the company’s blatant disregard of our FEDERAL RIGHTS.

    This is why we pay dues. And this is why I am happy to pay them. Without a union, all this would have just been forced on us, and who knows what else. Thanks so much, Guild.

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