Union Election Set for Law360 Editorial Staffers

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By Tyrone Richardson

July 29 — About 130 Law360 editorial staffers will vote Aug. 10 on whether they want the NewsGuild of New York as their collective bargaining representative, according to the National Labor Relations Board.

NLRB Region 2 in New York will conduct a combination of in-person secret ballots and mail-in ballots for the staffers of the New York City-based subscription legal news site, which is owned by Portfolio Media Inc., a LexisNexis subsidiary.

The NLRB election directions call for polling Aug. 10 at locations in New York City, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.

Region 2 will also mail ballots to some Law360 staffers who will have to return them by close of business Aug. 23. All ballots will be counted Aug. 24, according to the agency.

Some Ballots to Be Challenged

The company and the NewsGuild agreed that “training editors” may vote in the election but their ballots will be challenged because their eligibility “has not been resolved,” according to the NLRB election notice.

The NLRB election comes after Law360 management July 22 declined to voluntarily recognize the NewsGuild as the representative for its editorial staff that includes reporters, editors and news assistants.

A company spokesman told Bloomberg BNA the company is not “comfortable waiving the rights of every one of our employees to register their voice.”

The NewsGuild said its organizing drive is intended to address issues such as such as wages, daily story quotas and unilateral changes to employee benefits.

The campaign also comes weeks after Law360 management reached a settlement with New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman to end its practice of requiring all editorial employees to sign noncompetition agreements.

The Writers Guild of America East and the NewsGuild-CWA are in the midst of separate campaigns to organize digital newsrooms across the country.

Union leaders have 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 the Washington-Baltimore NewsGuild, Local 32035 of the NewsGuild.

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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