Some New York employees who seek to join a union meet resistance from the employer. This does not automatically mean that they will not be able to join. To have union representation when there is a disagreement whether the employer will allow it, it is sometimes necessary to take other steps. The benefits to labor relations for union members are many, so it is beneficial to move forward with the process. If there is a problem with the formation of a union or the joining of an established union, having experienced help from a labor attorney is vital.
Workers at the New York news websites, Gothamist and DNAinfo, are now allowed to join a labor union. In April, after Gothamist was purchased by the owner of DNAinfo, an agreement was made by those who report and edit for the sites to join the Writers Guild of America East. However, the union was not recognized by the owner. This made it necessary for there to be a formal vote by the National Labor Relations Board. Of the 27 workers, 25 voted to join. The union must now be recognized.
When they initially attempted to join the union, the owner informed them that he would decide how the business would be run. The chief operating officer of DNAinfo emailed the staff about the potential risk of joining and union and that it could lead to the closure of the site. Workers at DNAinfo were laid off before and after the purchase of Gothamist. The union is planning to craft its demands with the new members. New York workers at DNAinfo and Gothamist are the only ones that has decided to join a union even as there is a DNAinfo site in Chicago and Gothamist has locations in four other cities. The goal of the union is to ensure that the workers are treated fairly and the work is not treated as a side job.
Unions are imperative to protect workers from the whims of ownership when it comes to the job. It can help with benefits, to prevent abusive treatment, guarantee wages, to avoid unfair labor practices and more. A frequent sticking point to forming or joining a union is resistance from upper management and ownership. Whether there is already a union in place and there are issues that need legal help or there is an attempt to join a union that is being hindered, it is crucial to work with a law firm that is aware of strategies with a labor union.
Source: nytimes.com, “Gothamist and DNAinfo Newsrooms Now Have a Union,” Andy Newman, Oct. 27, 2017