Earlier this month, managers at the subscription news site Law360 brought some high-priced consultants into the newsroom. Their purpose: to persuade employees not to unionize.
Turns out that money could have been better spent elsewhere.
In an election held over the course of several days this month, editorial staffers at the site voted in favor of joining the NewsGuild of New York, according to an email sent to staffers Wednesday from the site’s general manager, Scott Roberts.
The results of the election have not yet been certified by the National Labor Relations Board. Roberts said in his note that once they are, the company will start bargaining with the union toward a first contract.
The vote wasn’t close - 109 in favor, nine against - according to the union. But as of Wednesday afternoon, lawyers representing the company were claiming that a ballot box had been mishandled, suggesting Law360 may challenge the vote, said Nastaran Mohit, an organizer with the NewsGuild.
“It’s fairly ridiculous,” Mohit said. “Even if those challenges were to hold up, those votes were not determinative. This was an overwhelming majority.”
A Law360 spokesman declined to comment.
If the vote gets ratified, Law360 will be added to a growing list of digital news sites that have gone union over the past couple of years, including Gawker, Salon, Vice, ThinkProgress, The Guardian, and Al Jazeera America (before it folded). Editorial staffers at The Huffington Post also unionized, joining the Writers Guild of America, East, earlier this year, and are now bargaining toward a contract.
As HuffPost reported earlier this month, Law360 was the first of those sites to throw serious resources at beating back the union campaign, whereas most others voluntarily recognized the unions. The election marks a significant win for the NewsGuild, which could add roughly 130 new members to its rolls.
This post has been updated with comment from a NewsGuild organizer.