Washingtonian workers scores win in conflict over distant work, covid insurance policies
“WE WILL NOT unilaterally change the phrases and circumstances of employment,” one of many messages on the discover reads.
The settlement with the NLRB marks the most recent improvement within the acrimonious labor disputes between Washingtonian proprietor Cathy Merrill and her journal’s union as they enter the 18th month of contract negotiations.
In Might 2021, Merrill enraged workers with an op-ed in The Washington Publish calling for a post-pandemic return to the workplace and warning that distant staffers may find yourself as contractors or be “let go.” In response, the workers went on a one-day publishing strike and later, unionized beneath the Baltimore-Washington NewsGuild.
In October of that 12 months, administration notified workers they have been required to stay in D.C., Maryland or Virginia. (“It will be important that each one of our workers stay within the area we cowl,” an e mail knowledgeable them on the time, including that the corporate wasn’t outfitted to cope with getting ready tax varieties for a number of further-flung states.) The NewsGuild protested that this amounted to an unlawful try to violate “established order” guidelines in opposition to altering the phrases of employment whereas in the course of contract negotiations.
In an announcement after the NLRB settlement, Merrill defended the now-rescinded residency rule.
“We’re a small native enterprise masking native information and occasions and we imagine that having a powerful Washington presence is core to our mission,” she wrote. “It offers our model honesty, credibility and trustworthiness.”
Merrill had additionally clashed with workers final 12 months over a covid precaution requiring workers to remain out of the workplace for 5 days after touring: She wished to overturn the rule whereas workers wished to keep up it.
“She was clearly form of exercised about getting this rule change pushed via,” Andrew Beaujon, a Washingtonian senior editor and member of an inside committee on covid coverage, stated.
In an e mail to Beaujon final spring, Merrill argued that it didn’t make sense for the journal to maintain anybody who had attended a latest journalism convention in St. Louis out of the workplace, whereas having no equal rule for staffers who attended giant occasions within the Washington space that have been additionally conducive to the unfold of covid.
Beaujon resigned from the covid committee, and the five-day rule was rescinded. Now it’s been reinstated as a part of the NLRB settlement, with the journal promising to inform workers in writing if the rule is rolled again once more.
Washingtonian settled the case lower than every week earlier than the NLRB listening to was imagined to convene on Might 24. For staffers, the settlement marks a win for the journal’s nascent labor efforts.
“I didn’t know an excessive amount of about ‘established order’ earlier than this, however I’ve actually turn out to be a fan of it,” Beaujon stated.