Friday, March 4, 2016

NewsGuild Bargaining Unit at WPIX ratifies new 3 year contract

March 3, 2016

At 9:30am and 2:30pm ratification meetings today, NewsGuild represented employees at WPIX unanimously voted to approve a three year contract that runs from January 1, 2016 through December 31, 2018.

Highlights Include:

Wage increases: 2% as of February 25, 2016
2% as of January 1, 2017
2% as of January 1, 2018

Personal Days for full-time staff increase from 2 to 3.

Part-Time and Temporary Employees now receive the same Holiday Pay and Annual Wage Increases as Full-Time Staff.
Part-Time and Temporary Employees earn 1 hour of Sick Time for every 30 hour worked, up to a maximum of 40 hour (5 Sick Days) per year. Up to 40 hours of unused accrued sick time may be carried over to the following year.

Part-Time and Temporary Employees will receive a contribution equal to 1% of pay to the Entertainment Industry Flex Plan. Part-Time and Temporary Employees who work 1,580 hours a year will receive health insurance under the same terms as Full-Time Employees.

Thank you to all the members for their input and special thanks to Guild Unit Chair, Joe Punday and Shop Steward, Jeff Crianza for their efforts as part of your negotiating team.

In Unity,

Robert Daraio
Local Representative
The NewsGuild of New York
CWA Local 31003, AFL-CIO

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Testimony of NewsGuild of New York President Peter Szekely Before the New York City Council Committee on Immigration.

The NewsGuild of N.Y., CWA Local 31003

January 27, 2016: Good morning, Chairman Menchaca and members of the committee.
NewsGuild of New York President Peter Szekely
NewsGuild of New York President Peter Szekely

My name is Peter Szekely and I’m president of The NewsGuild of New York, which is Local 31003 of the Communications Workers of America. The Guild represents some 2800 journalists and other employees, mostly at New York area news organizations, and we’ve been doing it for 82 years. 

Our members work at national and global news organizations, like The New York Times, Time Inc. and Reuters, where I spent most of my working life as a Washington correspondent until I became a full-time paid officer of our union eight and a half years ago. And our members also work at a host of smaller news organizations in the area, including some of the city’s ethnic newspapers, like The Jewish Forward, The Amsterdam News and El Diario.
NewsGuild members and concerned New Yorkers packed the New York City Council Committee on Immigration hearing today to address the life and death struggle facing local ethnic media. #SaveElDiario #SalveElDiario

As a union, the Guild’s chief mission is to try to improve the working conditions of our members, which in today’s world means we’re fighting to keep journalists in the middle class. But we also consider ourselves protectors of the craft of journalism. And for that reason, I want to thank the committee for holding these hearings.

We’re very concerned by what we’ve seen at El Diario over the past few years. In the past two years, the size of the paper’s newsroom has shrunk from 25 to 11. Where only a few years ago the paper was filled with local stories that the larger mainstream press wasn’t covering, today it’s just a shadow of its former self. The paper that calls itself the Champion of the Hispanics is today filled mostly with stories that have been aggregated from wire services and other people’s reporting. The same goes for the El Diario website. Last summer, one of our members who left El Diario told us, “I did not become a reporter to cut and paste from other websites.”

We understand that El Diario and other news organizations are privately owned enterprises that need to turn a profit. But, while it’s not written into their charters, they also assume the roles of public trusts. The foreign language press is a pipeline to the city’s immigrant communities. They bring to their readers news that often can’t be found elsewhere and that speaks to them in the language they are most comfortable with. Since an informed citizenry is essential to a free society, the press provides a public service. It is therefore morally incumbent on the owners of these vital enterprises to do all that they can to continue to inform their readers, and it is equally incumbent on government to do all it can to support these enterprises.

It must be said that the Guild’s relationship with El Diario has been among the most contentious of our 20 employers in the four years since its parent company, ImpreMedia, was bought by La Nacion of Argentina. The elimination of 13 of our members’ jobs that was announced two weeks ago and which cut newsroom staffing in half has spawned yet another dispute between us that the National Labor Relations Board is now investigating.

And yet, I tried to find some reason for hope in the El Diario statement earlier this week in which management insisted it wasn’t setting a death date for its print publication, said it intended to remain the voice of the Latino community in New York and pledged to try to find what it called a “value proposition” to keep the paper alive.

The sobering reality, however, is that the latest statement needs to be viewed in the context of La Nacion’s stewardship of its American properties since 2012. What we’ve seen is that the journalistic resources of its papers in other American cities have been depleted. And our members have told us that management has sharply reduced the number of distribution points for El Diario, making it harder and harder for readers to find the print publication.

In short, we see a business strategy that appears to be what we call “Clear Channeling,” in which all of ImpreMedia’s American outlets are supplied with similar generic content and left with few, if any, resources for original local reporting.
We’re not oblivious to the financial upheaval in the newspaper business. We know that the availability of free content on the Internet is cutting newspaper circulation and forcing owners to seek a still elusive business model to replace the advertising revenue that has supported the industry since the late 1800s.

Notwithstanding these challenges, there are successes. Some hyper-local and other niche publications are still thriving, mostly because they have invested in good journalism. Experience has shown that readers will pay for news that is valuable to them and that can’t be found anywhere else. Cutting back on journalistic resources, a mistake that so many newspapers have made, isn’t just bad public policy, it’s bad business.

In New York’s Chinese community, which is less than one-fourth the size of the city’s Spanish-speaking population of two million, there are four Chinese language newspapers in robust competition with one another. One of them, the Sing Tao Daily, recently became the first foreign language newspaper to win an award from the New York City chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists for best reporting by a newspaper with circulation of less than 100,000.

So, even in today’s challenging business climate, it’s still possible for newspapers to succeed.

It starts with the will to do so. It requires an investment in good journalism. And it’s driven by a dedication to informing readers and providing them with the information they need to be good citizens. If the current owners of El Diario cannot summon the will, the dedication and the level of investment to devote to this 102-year-old institution of the city’s Hispanic communities, we hope they will step aside and make room for someone who can.

I thank the committee for inviting me and I’d be happy to answer your questions.


Tuesday, January 26, 2016


CONTACT: Jesus Sanchez, 917-545-2017,
                   CJ Macklin, 214-783-4055,
Journalists, Union Members, Elected Officials
to Rally Support for New York’s Ethnic Media
NYC Council-member Carlos Menchaca Heads NYC Council Hearing
on News Media Responsibility to New York’s Immigrant Communities
NEW YORK – Carlos Menchaca, chair of the City Council’s Immigration Committee, El Diario journalists, NewsGuild of New York President Peter Szekely and other NewsGuild members will come together on Wednesday, Jan. 27, at a press conference in support of local ethnic media in NYC.  
 Though these newspapers are private companies, they hold a particular public trust.  The possible closing of the print edition of El Diario and the consolidation of local news coverage into aggregated digital content at the oldest Spanish-language daily in the United States, represent a real loss for New York’s Hispanic communities. 
The press conference will be held 30 minutes before the start of NYC Council hearings at 10 a.m. on Jan. 27 to explore the future of community-centered ethnic media in the city.  
What:             Press conference and hearing in support of
                       ethnic media in NYC
Who:              El Diario Journalists
                       The NewsGuild of New York President
                       Council-member Carlos Menchaca
                       NYC Central Labor Council Representative
Where:          Steps outside City Hall
When:           Wednesday, Jan. 27, at 9:30 a.m.
On Jan. 15, El Diario’s parent company, ImpreMedia, laid off nearly half of the publication’s editorial and sales staff—dealing a devastating blow to an already overstretched, demoralized newsroom. Thirteen employees received notice of their termination, which now threatens to close the 102-year-old publication’s print edition and cut off an invaluable daily news source for thousands of Spanish-speaking New Yorkers.
El Diario is viewed as “The Champion of the Hispanics” in NYC’s Spanish-speaking communities. Many do not have access to digital forms of media, and would have no other way to learn about what’s going on in their neighborhood, their city and their country if the outlet ceased its print publication.
The NewsGuild of New York, Local 31003 of the Communications Workers of America, a union founded by journalists 82 years ago, represents 2,800 members at New York City area news organizations and other companies.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

NewsGuild Reaches Groundbreaking New Contract Settlement with The Nation

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2015
Contact: CJ Macklin, 646-335-0718,

NewsGuild Reaches Groundbreaking New Contract Settlement with The Nation
New Six-Year Contract will include 4-Month Paid Parental Leave for Employees, Regardless of Gender, 25% raises over 6 years
NEW YORK – The NewsGuild of New York announced on Wednesday a groundbreaking new six-year contract with The Nation. The contract will provide employees four months of paid parental leave regardless of gender, a nearly unheard of benefit in the news industry.

“Kudos to The Nation for taking such a progressive stance and working with us to trail blaze a path for other media organizations to follow. Journalists are parents too, and it’s important that they have the opportunity to be with family during this joyous period, without worrying about repercussions from their employer,” said Peter Szekely, president of The NewsGuild of New York.
NewsGuild members at The Nation voted overwhelmingly to ratify the agreement earlier today. In addition to paid parental leave, the contract will provide a 25 percent pay increase over the life of the agreement.

NewsGuild members at The Nation voted overwhelmingly to ratify the agreement earlier today
Editors and other Guild members at The Nation magazine voted to ratify a new contract on Dec. 16 that includes a groundbreaking four months of parental leave and raises pay by 25 percent over six years. Guild Rep Bob Daraio, left foreground, tallies the vote.  - See more at:
The labor agreement includes The Nation’s digital editors and comes as The NewsGuild is in the midst of an aggressive organizing effort to unionize digital reporters. Earlier this year, digital reporters at Al Jazeera America and The Guardian US both joined The NewsGuild in order to secure a greater say in the newsroom.
“The negotiating committee is very proud to have achieved a contract that not only protects our wages and healthcare, but also takes a major step forward in providing fully paid parental leave. Parental leave is a critical benefit for both women and men at our growing company, and will be offered on a gender-neutral basis,” said Emily Douglas, Senior Editor at The Nation. “Even better, the leave can be taken all at once, or in stages, throughout the first year after birth or adoption of a child. We are delighted that management shared our concern for new parents at The Nation, and with the agreement we reached.”
About NewsGuild of New York
The NewsGuild of New York, Local 31003 of the Communications Workers of America, represents about 2,800 journalists and other employees, mostly at New York area-based news organizations, including The New York Times, Thomson Reuters, The Daily Beast and Al Jazeera America Digital. It was launched in 1934 by a group of journalists that included crusading columnist Heywood Broun.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Triangle Factory Fire Commemoration Wednesday March 25, 2015

Triangle Factory Fire Commemoration Wednesday March 25, 2015
On Wednesday, March 25 at 11:30AM we Commemorate the 104th Anniversary of the Triangle Factory Fire. In 1911, 146 workers, mostly young, immigrant women, lost their lives in a tragic and avoidable fire. Join us as we remember those who died and honor the legacy of reform that arose from this tragedy.

Triangle Factory Fire Commemoration Wednesday March 25, 2015

Monday, February 23, 2015

Jersey Journal wins 16 awards in statewide journalism contest

The Jersey Journal
on February 16, 2015 at 12:17 PM, updated February 16, 2015 at 1:14 PM

The Jersey Journal has won 16 awards in the 2014 Better Newspapers Contest sponsored by the New Jersey Press Association.
Having competed against newspapers of similar size throughout the state, Journal staffers and contributors will pick up seven first-place awards, seven second-place awards and two third-place awards at the annual NJPA banquet in the spring.

"This is a proud moment for The Jersey Journal. Being recognized by our peers for quality journalism is truly satisfying," Editor Margaret Schmidt said.

"Many of the judges' comments went beyond affirming what we do,'' she added, pointing to comments such as "watchdog journalism at its best'' and "great insights." "They honored our journalists with high praise.''

The honors are:


First place, Responsible Journalism, Editorial Comment: Agustin Torres
First place, Reporting and Writing, Breaking News: Staff for reporting on the ambush murder of Jersey City Police Officer Melvin Santiago
First place, Design and Presentation, News Pages: Tanya Manthey
First place, Robert Kelly Award for new reporters: Jonathan Lin
First place, News writing portfolio: Terrence T. McDonald

Second place
, Public Service: Terrence T. McDonald, for a series of stories on the Jersey City Municipal Utilities Authority
Second place, Enterprise: Ken Thorbourne for a series of stories on Martin Luther King Drive in Jersey City
Second place, Overall Coverage: Staff for newspapers from the week of Sept. 20
Second place, Sports Columns: Patrick Villanova

Third place, Feature or Entertainment Columns: The Rev. Alexander Santora for the weekly Faith Matters column


First place, Feature Photo: Matt Gade
First place, News Picture Story: Reena Rose Sibayan

Second place
, Sports Feature: Molly J. Smith

Second place, General News: Reena Rose Sibayan
Second place, Spot News: Lauren Casselberry

Third place, News Picture Story: Reena Rose Sibayan and Chase Gaewski

The submissions were put together and entered by City Editor Patrick Villanova and Photo Editor Reena Rose Sibayan.

The awards will be among those given at the NJPA Press Night banquet at the Manor in Hamilton on April 23.

NJ Advance Media and its affiliated companies will also be well-represented at the dinner having won a total of 87 awards.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Ralph Augenfeld, a longtime and pioneering engineer at WPIX-TV, Dead at 64

Ralph Augenfeld
Ralph Augenfeld

Ralph Augenfeld, a longtime and pioneering engineer at WPIX-TV, died unexpectedly on Monday. He was 64.
Augenfeld began his career at WPIX  in 1979 as a maintenance engineer.  Soon thereafter, he became WPIX’s first ever News Engineer in Charge (EIC) and in the late 1990s was promoted to Engineering Manager.

Paul Brenner with Ralph Augenfeld
Paul Brenner with Ralph Augenfeld
During his long career at the station,  Ralph was involved in many WPIX technical firsts, from the launch of the TV PIX video game contest in 1980 to the design and implementation of the very first COFDM Digital News Helicopter.

Many of his efforts continue to benefit WPIX-TV today, including the station’s Citigroup Building and North Shore microwave receives sites.

“Although Ralph left WPIX in 2005 to accept a Director of Engineering position at the UN, he always considered himself always and forever a “PIX Lifer”.  Ralph Augenfeld, of Brooklyn,  is survived by his daughter Britt and son Zach.

A service will be held for Ralph this Friday, Feb. 20 beginning at 2 pm at the following address: 135 Eastern Parkway, Apt. 3C Brooklyn, NY  11238.  Shiva will be held at the same location on Saturday, Feb. 21 & Sunday, Feb. 22 from 10 am to 6 pm on both days.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Average CEO vs Worker Pay

Average CEO vs Worker Pay

CEO to worker pay ration now is about 295 times.

CEO Pay Continues to Rise as Typical Workers Are Paid Less

Trends in CEO compensation last year:
  • Average CEO compensation was $15.2 million in 2013, using a comprehensive measure of CEO pay that covers CEOs of the top 350 U.S. firms and includes the value of stock options exercised in a given year, up 2.8 percent since 2012 and 21.7 percent since 2010.
Longer-term trends in CEO compensation:
  • From 1978 to 2013, CEO compensation, inflation-adjusted, increased 937 percent, a rise more than double stock market growth and substantially greater than the painfully slow 10.2 percent growth in a typical worker’s compensation over the same period.
  • The CEO-to-worker compensation ratio was 20-to-1 in 1965 and 29.9-to-1 in 1978, grew to 122.6-to-1 in 1995, peaked at 383.4-to-1 in 2000, and was 295.9-to-1 in 2013, far higher than it was in the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, or 1990s.
  • If Facebook, which we exclude from our data due to its outlier high compensation numbers, were included in the sample, average CEO pay was $24.8 million in 2013, and the CEO-to-worker compensation ratio was 510.7-to-1.

Friday, December 12, 2014

NLRB Issues New Union Election Rules


NLRB Representation Case-Procedures Fact Sheet

Final Rule:  Representation-Case Procedures

The National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) Final Rule governing representation-case procedures is designed to remove unnecessary barriers to the fair and expeditious resolution of representation questions.  The Final Rule will streamline Board procedures, increase transparency and uniformity across regions, eliminate or reduce unnecessary litigation, duplication and delay, and update the Board’s rules on documents and communications in light of modern communications technology.  The amendments provide targeted solutions to discrete, specifically identified problems to enable the Board to better fulfill its duty to protect employees’ rights by fairly, accurately and expeditiously resolving questions of representation. 

Background on Representation-Case Procedures

Representation petitions are filed by employees, unions and employers seeking to have the NLRB conduct an election to determine if employees wish to be represented for purposes of collective bargaining with their employer.  The Board will investigate these petitions to determine if an election should be conducted and will direct an election, if appropriate. 

In most instances, parties agree on the voting unit and other issues.  If parties do not agree, the NLRB’s regional office holds a pre-election hearing to determine whether an election should be conducted.  The NLRB’s regional office conducts the election and, if necessary, holds a post-election hearing to resolve challenges to voters’ eligibility and objections to the conduct of the election or conduct affecting the results of the election.  Parties can seek Board review of regional determinations made before and after the election.  

Modernizing Board Procedures

Electronic Filing/Communications – Parties may file documents, such as petitions, electronically, rather than by fax or mail.  Parties and the NLRB’s regional offices can transmit documents electronically, rather than using slower or more expensive forms of communications, such as mail or express delivery services. 

Election Voter List – The employer must include available personal email addresses and phone numbers of voters on the voter list in order to permit non-employer parties to communicate with prospective voters about the upcoming election using modern forms of communication.

Streamlining Board Procedure and Reducing Unnecessary Litigation

Identifying Disputed Issues – The non-petitioning parties will be required to respond to the petition and state their positions generally the day before the pre-election  hearing opens.  The petitioner will be required to respond to the issues raised by the non-petitioning parties at the opening of the hearing.  Litigation inconsistent with the positions taken by the parties will generally not be allowed.   

Litigation of Eligibility and Inclusion Issues – Generally, only issues necessary to determine whether an election should be conducted will be litigated in a pre-election hearing.  A regional director may defer litigation of eligibility and inclusion issues affecting a small percentage of the appropriate voting unit to the post-election stage if those issues do not have to be resolved in order to determine if an election should be held.  In many cases, those issues will not need to be litigated because they have no impact on the results of the election.

Post Hearing Oral Argument and Briefs – All parties will be provided with an opportunity for oral argument before the close of the hearing.  Written briefs will be allowed only if the regional director determines they are necessary. 
Review of Regional Director Rulings – The parties may seek review of all regional representation-case rulings through a single post-election request, if the election results have not made those rulings moot.  The election will no longer be stayed after the regional director issues a decision and direction of election, in the absence of an order from the Board.

Review Standard for Post-election Issues – The Board will have the discretion to deny review of regional director post-election rulings, under the same standard that has governed Board review of regional director pre-election rulings for many years.

Increasing Transparency and Standardizing Board Process

Earlier and more complete information to the parties – When the petitioner files its petition, it will be required to simultaneously serve a copy of the petition, along with a more detailed Agency description of representation case procedures and an Agency Statement of Position form, on all parties identified in its petition in order to provide them with the earliest possible notice of the filing of the petition and Board procedures for processing those petitions.  NLRB regional offices will serve a Notice of Hearing and a Notice of Petition for Election (along with a copy of the petition, description of representation case procedures and the Statement of Position form) on all parties.   

The non-petitioning parties will be required to respond to the petition (generally the day before the hearing opens) by filing with the regional director and serving on the other parties a Statement of Position identifying the issues they have with the petition.  As part of its Statement of Position, the employer will be required to provide all other parties with a list of prospective voters, their job classifications, shifts and work locations.  
Earlier and more complete information to employees - The employer is required to post a Notice of Petition for Election containing more detailed information on the filing of the petition and employee rights within two business days of the region’s service of the petition.  The Notice of Election will provide prospective voters with more detailed information about the election and the voting process.

Scheduling of Hearings – Except in cases presenting unusually complex issues, pre-election hearings will generally be set to open 8 days after a hearing notice is served on the parties.  Post-election hearings will generally open 14 days after objections are filed.        

Comparison of Current/New Procedures

The following table provides a side-by-side comparison of current and New procedures:
Current procedures New procedures
Parties cannot electronically file election petitions.  Parties and NLRB regional offices do not electronically transmit certain representation case documents. Election petitions, election notices and voter lists can be transmitted electronically.  NLRB regional offices can deliver notices and documents electronically, rather than by mail. 
The parties and prospective voters receive limited information.  Parties will receive a more detailed description of the Agency’s representation case procedures, as well as a Statement of Position form, when served with the petition.  The Statement of Position will help parties identify the issues they may want to raise at the pre-election hearing.  A Notice of Petition for Election, which will be served with the Notice of Hearing, will provide employees and the employer with information about the petition and their rights and obligations.  The Notice of Election will provide prospective voters with more detailed information about the voting process. 
The parties cannot predict when a pre- or post-election hearing will be held because practices vary by Region. The Regional Director will generally set a pre-election hearing to begin 8 days after a hearing notice is served and a post-election hearing 14 days after the filing of objections. 
There is no mechanism for requiring parties to identify issues in dispute. Non petitioning parties are required to identify any issues they have with the petition, in their Statements of Positions, generally one business day before the pre-election hearing opens.  The petitioner will be required to respond to any issue raised by the non petitioning parties in their Statements of Positions at the beginning of the hearing.  Litigation inconsistent with these positions will generally not be allowed.  
The employer is not required to share a list of prospective voters with the NLRB’s regional office or the other parties until after the regional director directs an election or approves an election agreement.       As part of its Statement of Position, the employer must provide a list of prospective voters with their job classifications, shifts and work locations, to the NLRB’s regional office and the other parties, generally one business day before the pre-election hearing opens. This will help the parties narrow the issues in dispute at the hearing or enter into an election agreement.
Parties may insist on litigating voter eligibility and inclusion issues that do not have to be resolved in order to determine whether an election should be held. The purpose of the pre-election hearing is clearly defined and parties will generally litigate only those issues that are necessary to determine whether it is appropriate to conduct an election.  Litigation of a small number of eligibility and inclusion issues that do not have to be decided before the election may be deferred to the post-election stage.  Those issues will often be mooted by the election results.   
 Parties may file a brief within 7 days of the closing of the pre-election hearing, with permissive extensions of 14 days or more.  Parties will be provided with an opportunity to argue orally before the close of the hearing and written briefs will be allowed only if the regional director determines they are necessary. 
Parties waive their right to challenge the regional director’s pre-election decision if they do not file a request for review before the election.  This requires parties to appeal issues that may be rendered moot by the election results. Parties may wait to see whether the election results have made the need to file a request for review of the regional director’s pre-election decision unnecessary and they do not waive their right to seek review of that decision if they decide to file their request after the election.  
Elections are delayed 25-30 days to allow the Board to consider any request for review of the regional director’s decision that may be filed.  This is so even though such requests are rarely filed, even more rarely granted and almost never result in a stay of the election. There will be no automatic stay of an election.
The Board is required to review every aspect of most post-election disputes, regardless of whether any party has objected to it. The Board is not required to review aspects of post-election regional decisions as to which no party has raised an issue, and may deny review consistent with the discretion it has long exercised in reviewing pre-election rulings. 
 The voter list provided to non-employer parties to enable them to communicate with voters about the election includes only names and home addresses. The employer must submit the list within 7 days of the approval of an election agreement or the regional director’s decision directing an election. The voter list will also include personal phone numbers and email addresses (if available to the employer).  The employer must submit the list within 2 business days of the regional director’s approval of an election agreement or decision directing an election. 

Thursday, December 11, 2014

NLRB Reverses Precedent In Employer E-Mail Case

Thursday, Dec. 11, 2014


NLRB Reverses Precedent In Employer E-Mail Case

A divided National Labor Relations Board held Thursday that workers have a right to use their employers' e-mail systems for non-business purposes including communicating about union organizing, overruling the labor board's 2007 Register Guard ruling and calling it "clearly incorrect."

Law360, New York (December 11, 2014, 11:43 AM ET) -- A divided National Labor Relations Board held Thursday that workers have a right to use their employers' email systems for non-business purposes, including communicating about union organizing, overruling the labor board's 2007 Register Guard ruling and calling it "clearly incorrect."  

Ruling in a closely watched case challenging an electronic communication policy maintained by sign language interpretation services provider Purple Communications Inc., NLRB Chairman Mark Pearce, along with board members Kent Hirozawa and Nancy Schiffer, overruled the Register Guard's holding that employees had no statutory right to use employer email for activities covered by section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act. 

“Consistent with the purposes and policies of the act and our obligation to accommodate the competing rights of employers and employees, we decide today that employee use of email for statutorily protected communications on nonworking time must presumptively be permitted by employers who have chosen to give employees access to their email systems," Thursday's decision said.

The majority called its decision “carefully limited,” noting that it applied only to workers who have already been granted access to their employer's email system, and that businesses may justify a complete ban on non-work use of email if it can point to special circumstances that make such a prohibition necessary.

The Register Guard ruling — also a divided decision — gave short shrift to employees' right to communicate in the workplace about the terms and conditions of their employment and put too much weight on employer property rights, the NLRB said Thursday.

The majority in Register Guard also “inexplicably failed to perceive” email's importance as a way to for employees to engage in labor law-protected communications, the majority in Purple Communications said, adding that that importance had increased dramatically during the 7 years since Register Guard was issued.

Thursday's decision stopped short of finding Purple Communications' policy unlawful, remanding the question of whether the company violated the NLRA by maintaining that policy back to the administrative law judge who previously found it to be lawful.
The CWA is represented by David A. Rosenfeld and Lisl R. Duncan of Weinberg Roger & Rosenfeld APC.

The NLRB general counsel is represented by Kayce R. Compton.

Purple Communications is represented by Robert J. Kane of Stuart Kane LLP.
The case is Purple Communications Inc. and Communications Workers of AmericaAFL-CIO; case numbers 21-CA-095151, 21-RC-091531 and 21-RC-091584; at the National Labor Relations Board.

--Editing by Rebecca Flanagan.