New York Times Tells Tech Workers to Put Union Effort to a Vote

The New York Times Company said on Thursday that it would not voluntarily recognize a newly formed union of tech and digital employees, instructing the group to put the matter to a formal vote through the National Labor Relations Board.

The Times Tech Guild, a group affiliated with the NewsGuild of New York, had asked the company for recognition on April 13, when it announced that a majority of tech workers had formed a union. The group includes software engineers, data analysts, designers and product managers.

In an email to staff on Thursday, the Times chief executive, Meredith Kopit Levien, wrote that, since the union was formed, “we have heard questions and concerns from many of our colleagues about what this would really mean for their careers.”

“As a result, this morning, we advised the NewsGuild that we believe the right next step is a democratic process that surfaces all the facts, answers questions from employees and managers, and then lets employees decide via an election,” the note continued.

voluntarily recognized the Wirecutter union in 2019.

If an employer does not voluntarily recognize a union, the National Labor Relations Board may hold an election. If a majority votes in favor, the union can start negotiations with management.

A Times spokeswoman said in a statement that the company had a long history of productive relationships with unions and with nonunion employees.

the latest to join the wave.

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Minnesota Governor Calls Alleged Assaults on Journalists ‘Chilling’

Tim Walz, the governor of Minnesota, on Sunday responded to reports that the state’s police officers had assaulted journalists covering the unrest in a Minneapolis suburb, saying, “Apologies are not enough; it just cannot happen.”

Protests have erupted in Brooklyn Center, Minn., in the wake of the death of Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old Black man who was killed by a veteran police officer during a traffic stop. Law enforcement officers have fired tear gas or pepper spray into crowds and have made dozens of arrests.

“I think we all need to recognize the assault on media across the world and even in our country over the last few years is chilling,” Mr. Walz said in an interview with a local CBS station. “We cannot function as a democracy if they’re not there.”

On Saturday, a lawyer representing more than 20 news media organizations sent a letter to Mr. Walz and leaders of Minnesota law enforcement organizations detailing a series of alleged assaults of journalists by police officers in the past week. Journalists have been sprayed with chemical irritants, arrested, thrown to the ground and beaten by police officers while covering protests, wrote the lawyer, Leita Walker.

forced to the ground along with other journalists and photographed by the police.

A spokeswoman for The New York Times Company on Sunday confirmed that Ms. Walker’s letter represented the company’s response.

On Friday, a federal judge issued a temporary restraining order forbidding the police to use physical force or chemical agents against journalists. But Ms. Walker wrote that officers were still engaging in “widespread intimidation, violence and other misconduct directed at journalists.”

Mr. Walz said in a tweet on Saturday that he had “directed our law enforcement partners to make changes that will help ensure journalists do not face barriers to doing their jobs.”

“These are volatile situations and that’s not an excuse,” he said during the television interview on Sunday. “It’s an understanding that we need to continue to get better.”

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New York Times tech workers form a union.

Tech workers at The New York Times announced on Tuesday that they had formed a union and would ask the company to recognize it.

The group, a majority of which signed cards in support of the effort, of more than 650 employees includes software engineers, designers, data analysts and product managers. It will be represented by the NewsGuild of New York. NewsGuild membership already includes more than 1,300 newsroom workers and business staff members at The Times, as well as workers at other media outlets.

As part of the Times Tech Guild, the tech workers would be in a separate bargaining unit from other Times employees represented by the NewsGuild.

In recent years, The Times has ramped up its hiring of tech workers as part of its strategy to reach 10 million paid digital subscribers by 2025. In 2020, digital-only subscriptions neared seven million and became the company’s largest revenue stream.

formed a union, a rarity in Silicon Valley. An organizing drive at an Amazon warehouse in Alabama was voted down last week.

Media companies have had a surge in such efforts. Workers at publications like BuzzFeed News, Vice, The New Yorker, Slate and Vox Media have all formed unions in recent years.

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Court Dismisses Trump Campaign’s Defamation Suit Against New York Times

A New York State court on Tuesday dismissed a defamation lawsuit filed by the re-election campaign of Donald J. Trump against The New York Times Company, ruling that an opinion essay that argued there had been a “quid pro quo” between the candidate and Russian officials before the 2016 presidential election was protected speech.

The Times published the Op-Ed, written by Max Frankel, a former executive editor of The Times who was not named as a defendant in the suit, in March 2019 under the headline “The Real Trump-Russia Quid Pro Quo.” Mr. Frankel made the case that in “an overarching deal” before the 2016 election, Russian officials would help Mr. Trump defeat Hillary Clinton in exchange for his taking U.S. foreign policy in a pro-Russia direction.

Mr. Trump’s re-election campaign, Donald J. Trump for President Inc., filed the suit in New York State Supreme Court in February 2020, alleging defamation and accusing The Times of “extreme bias against and animosity toward” the campaign.

In his decision on Tuesday, Judge James E. d’Auguste noted three reasons for dismissal. He wrote that Mr. Frankel’s commentary was “nonactionable opinion,” meaning it was constitutionally protected speech; that the Trump campaign did not have standing to sue for defamation; and that the campaign had failed to show that The Times had published the essay with “actual malice.”

sued Gawker Media in 2012 over the publication of a sex video. That suit, secretly funded by the conservative tech investor Peter Thiel, resulted in a $140 million decision that prompted Gawker Media’s bankruptcy and sale.

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