Law360 Management Doesn't Contest Union Election

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By Tyrone Richardson

Sept. 1 — The National Labor Relations Board Sept. 1 certified a union election at Law360, making the NewsGuild of New York the collective bargaining representative for about 130 editorial staffers at the legal news site, according to the NLRB website.

Law360 officials declined to sign off on the National Labor Relations Board tally of ballots Aug. 24, setting up a possible challenge, Guild Organizing Coordinator Nastaran Mohit told Bloomberg BNA Aug. 24. But the challenge never materialized.

The NLRB’s Region 2 office, in New York City, Aug. 24 counted all ballots in the NewsGuild’s bid to represent reporters, editors and news assistants at the company. Some Law360 officials present for the ballot counting that day “verbally raised objections” to the handling of the ballot box used to count votes for about 15 staffers in Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., Mohit told Bloomberg BNA Aug. 24. The company had seven days to challenge the election results, according to NLRB rules.

The ballots totaled 109-9 for the NewsGuild’s representation, Mohit said.

Bloomberg BNA was unsuccessful in retrieving the official tally of ballots from NLRB officials as of early evening Sept. 1.

Union Readying Contract Talks

Reached early Sept. 1, prior to certification of ballots, Mohit told Bloomberg BNA that the union was preparing to schedule contract talks after certification.

“We will be reaching out to the company shortly thereafter to begin discussing dates to commence negotiations,” Mohit said.

Law360 spokesman Chris Giganti told Bloomberg BNA Sept. 1 that the company wouldn't comment.

The NLRB election came after management July 22 declined to voluntarily recognize the NewsGuild as the representative of its editorial staffers. Instead, the company retained law firm Jackson Lewis as counsel and the Labor Relations Institute “for union-busting purposes,” Mohit told Bloomberg BNA Aug. 10.

The NewsGuild of New York, which is Local 31003 of NewsGuild-CWA, sought to organize the Law360 staffers to address issues such as stagnant wages, story quotas and unilateral changes to employee benefits, officials said.

The organizing campaign also came as Law360 management was reaching a settlement with New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman to end its practice of requiring all editorial employees to sign noncompetition agreements.

The NewsGuild-CWA and the Writers Guild of America East are conducting separate campaigns to organize digital newsrooms across the country. Union leaders told Bloomberg BNA that digital-only publications are largely staffed with young personnel who are seeking higher wages and a voice in the decision-making process.

Bloomberg BNA, a wholly owned subsidiary of Bloomberg LP, has editorial staffers represented by Local 32035 of the NewsGuild-CWA.

To contact the reporter on this story: Tyrone Richardson in Washington at trichardson@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Susan J. McGolrick at smcgolrick@bna.com

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