Times Union loses appeal in dues case

The Newspaper Guild added another legal victory this week when the 2nd Circuit Court rejected the Times Union’s appeal of a lower court decision on the cutting off of union dues.

The newspaper has been trying to prevent its workers from having a case heard over the company’s cessation of collecting dues. The court upheld the district court’s ruling that the Guild has a right to take that case to arbitration.

“We hold that the Guild’s contractual right to checkoff of union dues survives expiration of the agreement, thus subjecting the parties’dispute to arbitration,” the court ruled in its decision.

You can read the full text of the decision here.

The decision also lifts a stay the court had granted while the appeal was heard, meaning the union can now insist a hearing date be scheduled.

This is the latest in an impressive string of victories the union has won. The National Labor Relations Board prosecuted the Times Union for breaking the law when it illegally laid off 11 workers in 2009 and for illegally declaring impasse in those layoff negotiations. The union won both those cases before the Administrative Law Judge, and the Times Union was ordered to bring the employees back to work, pay them back pay and resume negotiations.

Rather than abide by the ALJ’s decision, the Times Union filed an appeal to the full NLRB in Washington, D.C. – a delaying tactic with virtually no chance of victory. In the meantime, the Times Union’s liability in the case now exceeds $500,000 and grows every day.

“The time has come for the Times Union to stop waging its losing legal war against its workers,” Guild President Tim O’Brien said. “We have continued to offer flexibility at the bargaining table. If the company put half the effort into reaching a settlement that the union has, we’d be done by now.”

The union had offered the company a bargaining date of May 18 for further off-the-record discussions. The company said it was unavailable but has yet to provide another date .

The Guild is especially thankful for the great legal work done by International attorney Barbara Camens.

“We are very lucky to have excellent legal counsel on our side,” O’Brien said. “Barbara has done just a stellar job for us. But the time has come for the Times Union to stop wasting money on lawyers and start focusing on a reasonable settlement and the considerable flexibility we continue to offer.”

The Guild Reporter’s article on the decision can be read here.

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