Today, we are wrapping up the hearing process at the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) so we can proceed, finally, to an official election to certify our union! We expect a final ruling from the NLRB in a couple weeks on how/when we will have our vote. Typically, when the NLRB issues a ruling and directs an election, the date is set roughly three weeks from the date the decision is released. Obviously, we’ll be in touch with more specifics as soon as we have them. We’ll also be in touch about future opportunities to come together as a union, like we did last week for lunch at the Tower and other events for those of us outside of NYC.
We have gone through this process at the NLRB because Hearst executive management refused to recognize our union in November when a strong majority across all Hearst Magazines brands signed cards to form the Hearst Union. It’s been frustrating to see the company fly in the face of industry norms by forcing these protracted hearings, but we are making clear progress toward an election. As a refresher, these are some of the things Hearst has been trying to argue.
- Hearst claimed our union of editorial staff across Hearst Magazines should actually be six different bargaining units based on inconsistent reasoning (sometimes based on geography, sometimes based on content and audience, sometimes based on the type of work we do—in several instances, even people working for the same brand would be divided into two or even three different bargaining units).
- Hearst claimed over 200 editorial staff are supervisory and should be excluded from the election. We were able to reach an agreement on most of these positions, but there are still over 70 people/positions in dispute. We are glad that the NLRB ruled on Wednesday (again) that this dispute will not delay our election. Those of us who are in the “supervisory” positions that are in dispute will be able to vote provisionally in the upcoming election and we can sort out final inclusion in our union after the election results are certified.
- Hearst claimed that dozens of us should be excluded from the upcoming vote due to “membership” in another supposed union, the Hearst International Employees Association, an obscure organization that no one seems to know anything about and is not a union in a meaningful way. They also have argued to fully exclude Best Products from our union.
We’ll keep you posted as soon as we get any further decisions from the NLRB on these arguments.
We have already organized our union and stand ready to negotiate our first union contract so that all of us, across all brands, can have a real voice when it comes to all the vital issues we have at work, including compensation, company transparency, staff diversity, and editorial standards. If you haven’t been following, we’ve been posting highlights from union contracts our colleagues in the industry have negotiated at their workplaces. Check back for future posts on Twitter and Instagram at @hearstunion!
We’ll also be doing an AMA in Instagram stories this coming Monday, so be sure to submit any outstanding questions.
This has been a long road, but it has been so inspiring to join together with all of you to build something so important and win a seat at the bargaining table. Despite all of management’s attempts to divide us, we have never felt more unified and proud of our decision to form the Hearst Union. We look forward to joining our siblings at other Writers Guild of America, East unions, as well as every other unionized workplace across media to help raise standards for all of us.