WGA East Files Third Unfair Labor Practices Charge Against Hearst Magazines Media

After two years of collective bargaining, the WGA East has filed another unfair labor practices charge against Hearst Magazines Media – this time for giving employees a raise while in contract negotiations with the guild. The guild, which says that this violates federal labor law, represents some 500 of the publishing giant’s editorial, video, design and photo staff at more than 25 brands, including Esquire, Cosmopolitan, Harper’s Bazaar, Town & Country, Good Housekeeping, Popular Mechanics, Car & Driver, Oprah Daily, Seventeen, Elle, Redbook and Woman’s Day.

The complaint, filed today with the National Labor Relations Board, claims that “Within the last six months, the employer unilaterally implemented a wage increase for bargaining unit employees while it is in negotiations for a collective bargaining agreement with the charging party.”

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This is the third unfair labor practices charge the guild has filed against the company for allegedly acting unlawfully during bargaining. In this latest case, the guild says that Hearst “tried to circumvent bargaining by giving a discretionary and unevenly applied increase, meaning some people got nothing. They did not give the union the opportunity to bargain over this increase, and they then used this uneven increase as a reason to pull a contractual percentage raise off the bargaining table. The union is fighting for guaranteed annual increases for all unit members.

“Hearst has fought its employees’ efforts to improve the workplace at every single stage of this process, starting with their lengthy bad faith attempts to prevent employees from voting to unionize in the first place. Most recently, Hearst withdrew its own previously-made proposals on critical compensation issues, saying among other things that the uneven and unilateral raise they gave without even notifying the union bargaining team was sufficient.

“Nothing about what Hearst is proposing is sufficient. Hearst’s proposals on key issues like compensation, layoffs, severance, and anti-harassment measures fall woefully behind industry standards and do not recognize the contributions of the hardworking magazine staff. They have stalled and stonewalled for years, and have now once again broken the law.”

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