"we unionized wordle": NYT Tech Workers Win Historic, Landslide Union Vote
Workers at the NYT Tech Guild have become the largest registered tech union in US history.
Tech workers at the New York Times won their union vote yesterday: 404 - 88, making them the largest tech union in US history. Ballots were open for a month, during which time NYT management was accused more than once of illegal union-busting activity.
In their mission statement, Tech Guild members say that their organising efforts aimed to ‘improve the Times’s workplace culture’ and ‘cement and make transparent’ the more equitable work place that management has said it wants to create:
“As tech workers, we currently lack transparency around compensation, but we know that there are pay discrepancies among people on the same team with the same title. We are at-will employees, and have no legal protection from being fired without warning or explanation. Opaque promotion processes that change frequently without worker input make career growth frustrating and difficult, often driving talented staff to leave The Times to grow elsewhere. There are unevenly applied rules related to on-call expectations, which require workers to provide significant unpaid overtime hours. And though there is company-wide conversation about the importance of diversity, the product organization remains unrepresentative, and diversity and inclusion work often remains excluded from official career ladders. Without a union, we have no access to the data or bargaining rights we need to be able to meaningfully address these issues.”
On the front page of their shared site with colleagues at the Times Guild they “remind management that without us, there is no news, no platform, and no revenue.”
At one point during the union drive NYT shareholders felt they had to step in, their lawyers publishing an open letter to Times CEO Meredith Levien demanding that management “cease actions that could violate federal labor law”.
An example of the issues at play came last month when the company agreed an ‘undisclosed seven-figure deal’ to buy Wordle, but refused to agree to a salary floor for Wirecutter staff which would cost them $300k a year.
The guild will now begin contract bargaining, and will join their colleagues at the Wirecutter Union, representing the Times’s product review department, and the wider Times Guild, which has represented media and editorial workers at NYT since 1940, to “build a better workplace”.
The Guild wrote on Twitter last night:
NYT media reporter Katie Robertson wrote up the results of the union vote, quoting spokeswoman Danielle Rhoades Ha saying “The Times looked forward to working with the union to establish a contract.”
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