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Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Labor Union Hits Back at New York Times For Sports Desk Shutdown

  • NewsGuild files complaint alleging replacement of union labor with non-unionized personnel.
  • Outcome could have far-reaching ramifications for the newspaper.
The New York Times disbands sports section.
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The New York Times’ shuttering of its sports desk has now led — as expected — to a formal labor grievance.

The NewsGuild of New York has accused the newspaper of violating its recently completed union contract, specifically by replacing sports coverage from union-member sports department staffers with personnel from The Athletic, which isn’t unionized (and has had its own struggles).

“The company is claiming it has the right to subcontract to itself and have non-union workers do union work without the same job protections, wages, and other benefits we have fought so hard to preserve,” the union said. “These claims are preposterous on their face and a brazen attempt at union-busting.”

The Times has 20 days to respond to the grievance. If the newspaper denies the charges, as is likely, the NewsGuild will then have 45 days to seek an arbitration hearing. And that hearing could have significant ramifications.

Siding with the NewsGuild would force the Times to return to union members for sports coverage, while a decision for the Times could lead to similar moves in other sections of the newspaper. A middle ground could also arrive through a settlement potentially including a unionization of The Athletic.

Kravitz Sounds Off

Veteran sports journalist Bob Kravitz began a Substack column on Thursday, and his first post offered a bitter diatribe on his time at The Athletic, including the revelation that he was placed on probation shortly after quadruple-bypass surgery.

“I felt it in my bones: they don’t give a f— about me as a human being,” Kravitz wrote.

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