The National Labor Relations Board has ruled in favor of the Guild in a 2001 dispute over the e-mail policy at MediaNews Group's ANG newspapers, the Guild has announced. A three person NLRB panel ruled that MediaNews should have negotiated with the union before imposing a policy that prevented union leaders from using the newspaper's e-mail system to send out "broadcast" messages to all workers. (Text of ruling, 12 page PDF)
The ruling applies to a Guild unit which, in the eyes of MediaNews at least, no longer exists. The company headed by Dean Singleton announced Aug. 13 that it would no longer recognize the union as the representative of its workers at its offices in Alameda, Hayward, Fremont, Dublin, Danville, Tracy, Martinez, Livermore, Pleasanton, Oakland and San Mateo. MediaNews cut its ties to the union after merging the 170 non-union newsroom jobs at the Contra Costa Times with the 130 mostly union jobs at its ANG papers. The Guild has filed charges with the NLRB over the move.
In a memo to employees Tuesday, Publisher John Armstrong said "we had no choice but to withdraw recognition since it is illegal to extend recognition to a union that represents a minority of employees in a group." Amstrong also said the Guild "is waging a campaign of misinformation in an attempt to block our efforts to move the company in a positive direction in a very challenging economic environment."