#JustCauseNoExceptions Day of Action on 6/25 at 12 pm ET
Our guiding principle, as a union, is to raise the standards of journalism and ethics in the industry. Our mission as Guild activists and leaders is to advance the economic interests and improve the working conditions of our members.
That’s why, on Thursday, June 25, we’re launching a Local-wide Day of Action for #JustCauseNoExceptions.
The fight for just cause goes to the heart of who we are as a labor union. For decades, we have fought for and won due process and job security through a simple but key piece of contract language commonly known as just cause, which states, “There shall be no discipline or dismissal without just or sufficient cause.” This provision prevents us from being unfairly disciplined or fired and, in the event of unjust discipline, gives us the right to challenge an employer’s actions and seek redress. Just cause offers workers the power to fight back, and we consider it the cornerstone of a NewsGuild of New York contract.
But just cause is under threat.
At a time when so many employees are demanding transparency and responsibility for corporate inaction and editorial accountability, too many employers are doubling down on an “editorial exception” to just cause. Essentially, this union-busting language would allow management to turn anything — from “tone” to vague performance goals — into a failure to adhere to editorial standards. This loophole allows management to discipline you with impunity, denying you meaningful due process or objective third-party review — all under the guise of managerial discretion in exercising subjective editorial judgment.
Even before the pandemic, media companies and their lawyers were mounting an unprecedented campaign against the very idea of just cause in journalism. Without just cause, a culture of silence will become the norm in our workplaces. We’re fighting to ensure fairness and equity — particularly in this unprecedented time, when our Black colleagues and other colleagues of color are challenging media power structures — by maintaining this essential safeguard against unjust discipline. The COVID-19 crisis rocked an already precarious industry, and now the media is facing a public reckoning around institutional racism and the disenfranchisement of BIPOC employees. We must act now.
On Thursday, June 25 join us on social media for a #JustCauseNoExceptions Day of Action. We’re changing our avatars as well as tweeting support for our Guild colleagues @NewYorkerUnion, @Ars_Union, @P4KUnion @ZDCreatorsGuild @NYMagUnion @BFNewsUnion, @WirecutterUnion and @QzUnion, all of whom are currently bargaining for this critical protection. Retweet @nyguild and your unit’s account, change your avatar and share our graphics to demonstrate the importance of just cause, and help us demand that media companies across our industry agree to due process for workers.
But first, join us tomorrow via Zoom at 1 and 3 p.m. ET for a virtual Local-wide solidarity photo. The more of us who come together, the better.
The stakes are high for everyone, especially in such a chaotic and uncertain time: a lack of just cause in any of our workplaces will hurt the industry as a whole, leaving members’ jobs and work vulnerable to corporate and political interests, the court of public opinion, and managers’ personal whims and biases. Standing up for just cause means standing up for our colleagues, for ourselves, and for journalism.
Say it with me: JUST CAUSE — NO EXCEPTIONS! See you on Twitter.
President, The NewsGuild of New York
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