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.