Tech workers at The New York Times have formed a union under the NewsGuild of New York, and they are demanding voluntary recognition from the paper’s management. The new union, called the Tech Times Guild, represents more than 650 workers from the digital side of the company, including software engineers, designers, and data analysts.
Those employees are not included in the editorial union of The New York Times, which represents more than 3,000 reporters and media professionals at the newspaper and is also organized under NewsGuild. The editorial union has historically excluded employees on the digital side of the paper, even as the company has expanded into more ambitious data and digital work. As a result, the Tech Times Guild is seeking a separate bargaining unit, which would negotiate separately with the Times management.
“As of now, we face a number of challenges,” the Tech Times Guild said in a statement on Twitter, “including sudden or unexplained termination, opaque promotion processes, unpaid overtime, and underinvestment in diverse representation. Without a union, we lack the data or bargaining rights to address these issues.”
The Times has not formally responded to the union’s request for recognition. Reached for comment, a Times representative said the company was still considering the request. “Voluntary recognition is a significant decision,” The New York Times Company said in a statement. “We have heard questions from colleagues such as what a union would mean for staff, who might be included in the union, and how colleagues would have a say in who might represent them. We want to make sure all voices are heard.”
The new effort sits between the media industry, which has seen widespread labor organizing in recent years, and the tech world, where many organizing efforts have stalled. In March, an effort to unionize at Medium fell just one vote short, a defeat shortly followed by a painful restructuring at the company. A minority union formed at Google has avoided a vote but has seen growing friction between membership and union staff.