Law360 Editorial Officially Votes to Unionize
Management delays signing off after 92 percent of staff vote to join the NewsGuild.
Editorial staff at the legal news website Law360 have officially voted to unionize. A vote count held today showed employees voting in favor of joining The NewsGuild of New York, 109 to 9.
“It’s just so amazing to see the margin of support that we have,” an employee at Law360 tells Folio:. “We won this election by 100 votes and that’s an incredible showing of support from the staff for the union.”
An official NLRB vote was held in New York City on August 10, but the vote was delayed to give employees in Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. time to send their ballots by mail.
Law360 management and parent company LexisNexis did not sign off on the election results. They have seven days to contest the results before the union is certified.
According to Nastaran Mohit, organizing coordinator at NewsGuild, Law360’s lawyers indicated that they may contest the election on the grounds that ballots from outside of New York City were sent in envelopes, rather than the official ballot boxes.
However, in a letter to staff Wednesday afternoon, general manager Scott Roberts acknowledged the election results.
“While we are disappointed with that outcome, once these results have been certified by the Labor Board, we will begin the process of negotiating a contract in good faith,” Roberts wrote. “We are now turning our attention to working through these next steps.”
This is a change of tone for the company, who hired workplace law firm Jackson Lewis after the staff petitioned to unionize on July 19.
In the weeks that followed, staff members had mandatory meetings with the Labor Relations Institute, a consulting firm that discourages workplace unionization. While the company can legally discourage organization, they are required to recognize the union once it is certified by the NLRB.
“I don’t really think that LRI knew what they were dealing with,” an employee tells Folio:. “We’re all legal reporters who are savvy to these exact kinds of tactics.”
The week before the vote, EIC Cat Fredenburgh and co-managing editor Christine Caulfield were let go from the company. Fredenburgh was replaced by co-managing editor Anne Urda.
Despite the timing, sources close to the situation tell Folio: that this was neither a reaction to Fredenburgh or Caulfield’s stance on the union, nor was it a goal of the union effort.
The Law360 editorial staff is one of many digital publications to unionize over the last 15 months. The now extinct Gawker Media voted to unionize with the Writers Guild of America, East in June 2015. ThinkProgress, Huffington Post, Salon.com, and Vice soon followed.
Staff at Al Jazeera America Digital, which shuttered earlier this year, voted to unionize with the NewsGuild of New York in October. The NewsGuild also represents editorial staffs at Time Inc., The New York Times, The Nation, and The Daily Beast.
Law360 declined to comment.