by Nicole Levy
Capital New York (March 4, 2015)
The Newspaper Guild of New York has reached a tentative agreement with the parent company of El Diario La Prensa, the nation’s oldest Spanish-language daily newspaper, that extends the union’s contract with the company by two years and settles several unfair labor practice charges, the first of which were filed last March. Tensions between the guild and ImpreMedia began brewing early last year when guild members alleged that the company’s content director threatened to fire employees over their loyalty to the union at an editorial meeting.
At least 12 staff members were laid off in June, including seven guild members.
That month, the union filed a charge with the National Labor Relations Board accusing ImpreMedia of illegally discharging guild-represented employees, violating parts of the union contract concerning layoff procedure and severance payment; and refusing new union representation, thereby changing the guild’s jurisdiction.
The N.L.R.B. found merit in the union’s claims and gave ImpreMedia until last December to settle charges with the union, but no resolution was reached. Had the tentative agreement not been reached, the case would have gone before an N.L.R.B. trial judge on March 11.
The terms of the agreement include: “significant financial payments” to the seven guild members fired in in June in violation of their contracts, a union statement said; annual wage increases in 2015 and 2016; guild representation for nine multimedia editorial positions, some of which were filled after the layoffs; a pledge from the publisher to honor the guild contract in the future; and a ban on layoffs at the paper through 2015.
“I’m pleased that we finally have an agreement that will provide benefits and protections to Guild members at El Diario as well as a measure of justice to the people who lost their jobs last year,” guild president Bill O’Meara was quoted as saying in the statement.
The settlement still needs to be approved by the N.L.R.B. and voted on by guild-represented El Diario staffers.