Guild endorses bill on workplace bullying

The Newspaper Guild of Albany has endorsed a bill that would allow employees to sue over workplace intimidation, threats and harassment.

The union took the rare step of backing a bill due to the extreme circumstances faced by some employees at the Times Union.

The union endorsed a bill by State Senator Diane Savino that would allow workers to sue when facing workplace threats, bullying and intimidation.

Under current law, employees can only sue if they can prove they were discriminated against based on race, religion, age or gender. Savino’s bill would allow workers to sue if faced with workplace bullying, harassment and abuse.

“Our union does not endorse political candidates or contribute to their campaigns because that’s a sensitive issue for our editorial members,” Guild President Tim O’Brien said. “On rare occasions, we have endorsed specific pieces of legislation. Given the extreme mistreatment of some of our members, and management’s utter failure to rein in the bad behavior, we support Senator Savino’s legislation to make extreme workplace behavior illegal.”

Times Union advertising employees have been subject to unprecedented bullying and intimidation. The Guild surveyed workers, and almost 83.3 percent said workplace stress was interfering with their quality of life. Almost half said they had sought medical attention.

The union is prepared to meet with Senator Savino and other legislators about the bill, and its members are prepared to testify as to its necessity. The only other bills the union has endorsed in recent years are a federal shield law to protect journalists from being forced to disclose sources and the Employee Free Choice Act to level the playing field for workers looking to unionize.

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